One of the many highlights of my recent trip to SXSW2019 in Austin, Texas was the opportunity to listen to one of the trailblazers in American politics, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Who, for my money, would have a decent shot at becoming the leader of the free world were it not for her age (AOC will be 29 in 2020 and to run for President you have to be 35). Ocasio-Cortez's embrace of democratic socialism has been emphasised by the right, which seeks to paint her as out of touch with mainstream American values. But arguably, it's her progressive ideals that provide the basis for a human-centered politics that connect with a majority of Americans.
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has garnered so much traction through the unique way she has spoken not only to democrats in her Bronx constituency but also the Trump voting Republicans. Her simple message of education around the Green New Deal has often been highjacked and sensationalised by the right and right leaning news outlets like Fox. But it is her commitment to clean and clear messaging and removing the unnecessarily complex rhetoric around politics that has lead her to office, a record breaking queue at SXSW2019 and into the hearts of socialists in North America (and beyond).
AOC found a crack in the system and leveraged with it sincerity. "Women who look like me aren't supposed to run for office" She remarked in the opening minutes of her SXSW keynote address, she continued by stating that this disadvantage doesn't stop there, "..young people, people of colour, people not groomed for the elite aren't supposed to run for office....let alone win". AOC's advocacy of human centred politics really struck a chord with me and allowed me to draw comparisons to the success of human centred digital projects. Know Thy User has been at the heart of Greenwood Campbell's approach and it is this insight and the ability to design, develop and execute cutting edge Em.Tech solutions with a human heart at the centre that makes a project (and project environment) a success.
Company culture is often, in broad terms, something that hangs above the reality of a project environment like a neon sign in Vegas. A utopic, overarching world view that doesn't filter or translate down to street level (or the day to day running of a project). The challenge is to strip back an abstract or obscure party line, remove the clutter and the politics, the individual agendas and return to the baseline human need that sits behind the project requirement.
We have to simplify the terms of engagement. Keep the project rooted in the human element of the story the brand is trying to tell and remember to Know Thy User.