Surprise me – words that wake us up

23 February

This morning an election flyer popped through the door. I lazily scanned it over breakfast. I looked past the jaded layout and connected with the message. Liam turned a familiar concept on its head while still being respectful to his audience; Me.

The magic ingredient was surprise.

How does the element of surprise help us connect with our customers?

This political manifesto has an unexpected twist! Only yesterday, I read a business vision which contained phrases like ‘best practice’ and ‘fit for purpose’. What do we mean when we use jargon words like that? What are we hiding behind? Liam takes an every day word that he’s hearing from constituents and helps us re-frame it in a positive way. This might sound like simple word play but the result is powerful. It helps us to see an alternative reality.

People focussed political candidate flyer

Liam asks us to imagine a better future

Sure, this is a familiar political cry. But we’re being asked to take some responsibility for making a better world to live in. I’m willing to give head space to this idea.

Every day I hear the word ‘if’IF I get sick, will there be a bed for me? IF I can’t afford childcare, how do I go back to work? How will I retire IF I can’t live on my pension?

I believe that in a republic, the word ‘if’ should signal our hopes and not our fears…What if we could build this republic together? Let’s not live in fear, let’s live in hope.

Asking your audience ‘What if?’ is a great way to start an interesting conversation.

Another group who are effectively rallying change with the word ‘if’ are The Irish Architecture Foundation – inspiringly named ‘What If Dublin‘ on Twitter. Here is another community building group using the word ‘if’ to get us to question our beliefs.

These use their twitter account to debate ‘simple and not so simple ideas of how we can improve Dublin City’.

“We truly believe that architecture transforms lives. It influences our everyday experience, from the interiors of our houses to our landscape, our cities and our towns. We believe that the impact of our awareness and education initiatives will create a better-built environment, and we do everything within our power to make that happen.”

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