Change Nation. Communicating the Future Ireland.

March 27, 2012

What a weekend to spend in Ireland. Spring announced its arrival as the sun came out to play, the Mahon tribunal dominated the airwaves offering a hint of a future Ireland that won’t stand for the sins of the past and over three days across three venues in Dublin, Change Nation came to town.

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Change Nation, the brainchild of Paul O’Hara of Ashoka, brought 50 of the worlds leading social innovators to Ireland with a brief of exploring how they could bring their proven social solutions to Ireland. The event, which focused on actions, has generated over 200 commitments from all sectors of Irish society to making this happen. Politicians, the business community, the public sector, the citizen sector – have all committed to getting involved and as individuals making a real difference.

Positivity is a word that I have used before in describing spending time in the company of our friends at Ashoka. As the sun shone on Saturday morning at Farmleigh, this sense permeated everywhere. In an Ireland where the people have been continually pummeled by politicians of questionable value and values, largely unrepentant bankers, and a seemingly never ending stream of austerity measures, there was a generosity of spirit at Farmleigh not just inspired by great ideas but also the sense that we can be part of it and we ourselves make a difference.

The world of communication can play its part too. I’m delighted to say that the advertising community was well represented in making our commitments to making a difference. Advertising is frequently portrayed as a purveyor of all ills, only highlighted when the debate centres on the perceived evils of alcohol and fatty foods. Advertising can and should be used to help us tell the stories that ensure a stronger future for our nation. We’re good at it and Change Nation affords us a series of options to show case our skills. There are plenty of opportunities beyond Change Nation too that our politicians should consider embracing our industry to help spread the word rather than using us as fodder in avoiding addressing more fundamentally seeded ills.

Change Nation itself was a triumph of communication. From radio interviews to serial tweeting, Newspaper supplements to posters, and a dynamic website that in itself reflects the spirit of the endeavour, the power of storytelling and communication shone through. I recommend anyone to spend some time scanning their website to get a sense of what happened last weekend and to see if you think you can make a difference. Click here for a video to get you started!

Tim

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