Small towns have been beaten up by too many experts who claim to have the one solution that will save every town. Over the decades, we’ve heard them all, from coworking hubs, to community branding, to flipping your town. Remember when teaching people how to sell on eBay was the one solution that was going to save every small town??
They’re mostly good ideas for the towns where they started. Many a consultant that wants to “save small towns” started out with a good idea that worked in one town, and now they want every town to pay them to replicate it. The problem is that cookie-cutter approach: taking an idea that worked in one place and then copy-pasting it on lots of small towns over and over.
Not to mention “save small town” ideas that don’t age so well, like that whole eBay seller scheme.
Towns are too different for one single solution to work everywhere. In order to make these standardized templates fit every town that pays for them, the consultants have to stretch them out, make them more generic to fit all the differences of each town. The more towns that adopt these standardized solutions, the less potent the ideas are as they get watered down.
It’s not just the standardized solutions, it’s the fundamental approach to organization that’s flawed. All those expert solutions add more formality, assemble more committees or task forces or action teams.
We’ll hold a bunch of community meetings, and then the consultant will help us write a plan!
It doesn’t matter what they call it, it’s still more formal structure, more voting, more cases of a few chosen people deciding what’s best for everyone, more plans that represent an idealized and static future that’s never going to come to pass.
How many times will we keep doing the same thing: organize people into a hierarchy and write plans?
We don’t have to do that anymore.
We have new tools and new behaviors that let us break free and crowd source the better future we all want. No one has to take minutes, and no one is in charge of forcing accountability on others. There’s no deciding, no voting, no shaming. We can involve a lot more of the community, reach new people, accomplish big things in new small ways.
Rather than take a single solution template and force every small town into it the same way, Idea Friendly is a method you use to unleash immediate action through the power of everyday people like you using your ideas that you and your people choose to act on.
Plenty of people in your town already use social media, messaging and collaborative online tools. Now Idea Friendly gives you a way to help them accomplish more together. The old formality that held you back will drop away. You’re planting a flag on improving your community by empowering the people. You’ll be a magnet for people who want to create positive change without forming yet another committee.
It becomes self-sustaining as you reach more people more deeply. You’ll be practicing the Idea Friendly Method while you’re sharing the Idea Friendly concepts. It gets easier and easier as you build momentum.
Yes, our name is “Save Your Town.” But that’s not what we’re going to do. That’s what you’re going to do.
We’re not experts on small towns, telling you to follow our masterful solutions. We’re experts for small towns. We give you the method that unleashes action and that shapes people’s behaviors. Layer upon layer, the action rewrites people’s programming and values to bring it up to date, adapting to our informal and fast-changing times.
You’re saving your town from the cookie-cutter solutions outside experts would impose. You’re saving your town from those few people who want to hoard all the power. You’re saving your town by recognizing that the power is actually in the hands of all the people now. You’re saving your town by moving into the future together.
That’s who’s going to save your town. You are. And we’re here to help you.
Becky McCray and Deb Brown
Experts for small towns