Inbox: Citizen voice

Bureaucracy and innovation make for uneasy bedfellows, as Agnesa Secerkadic knows only too well. The head of the communications unit for the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Secerkadic told delegates at the recent IncrediblEdge summit in Auckland that she sees change happening everywhere, even within the confines of large “last-century” organisations such as the UN.
New Zealand’s former Prime Minister Helen Clark, she says, has been both strategic and open-minded about such change in her role as head of the United Nations Development Programme: testament, perhaps, to New Zealanders’ abilities to “be courageous and take responsibility”.
Even so, Secerkadic sees much more scope for the UN to evolve both its infrastructure and philosophies in step with wider societal changes outside of its four walls.
The Web 1.0 world it inhabits, she notes, is transmogrifying into Web 2.0 existence: from static to live, from publish to interact, inform to engage, and link to tag. Organisations must no longer sell but socialise. They can no longer control but can collaborate.
In practical terms, this means organisations such as the United Nations could best shift their focus from fronting up with “the solution” to providing platform for multiple solutions depending on each unique set of circumstances and needs.
“Solutions in the past were donor- rather than needs-driven,” she says. “And that is now changing.”
Secerkadic sees need for large organisations to switch from messages to dialogue and engagement. From an ad-hoc approach to strategic, systematic, evidence-based and longer-term thinking. And from individual behaviour to collective social change.
Social media, she says, provides even large organisations with opportunities to reconnect, invent new platforms and identify leads. M

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