The informal movement

In 90 minutes or so, I’m going to be standing in front of a group of Dayton marketing professionals and presenting a “Big Idea.” This isn’t the Dayton Ad Club (now, unfortunately mis-monikered as the “Greater Dayton Advertising Association) or the Dayton Chapter of the American Marketing Association or the IABC (I can’t even remember what those initials stand for) or the…. countless other “formal” organizations with chapters, bylaws and tax IDs, but an ad hoc group founded by my friend David E Bowman. The “Dayton Marketing Community” is open to all, without dues, a set agenda, or all the rest of the trappings of formality- it’s basically just an online hub facilitated by Ning.

Like minded people, getting together, to get something done. As David said, we don’t have to ask permission to have a meeting.

It’s the same thing Dr. Ervin has done with his Oregon Arts District initiative. He didn’t ask permission, he just did it.

The Pinewood Park Athletic Association probably started the same way. Like-minded people coming together.

The highly organized campaign to elect our president, for all its structure and process, still felt ad hoc to many. The message boards are still there, but they aren’t as alive as they used to be.

Some efforts are carried by momentum, some by shared vision, some by an immediate purpose, but the question I ask today is- are all the trappings of formality really what gives a movement status? Is ad hoc the new way to get things done?

I think about this a lot, when I come to things like the Dayton Priority Board system, which seems to run parallel to the neighborhood organizations. I think about this when we look at unions and management battling for position, when both should be more worried about survival (car companies and firefighters/city hall for example).

Institutions are places of higher learning- and places we send crazy people people who can’t cope with regular day-to-day life within societies norms (to be PC). I find the dual use of the word almost ironic.

I’d like to hear your thoughts- do formal organizations always get more done?

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5 Responses

  1. Frank Coleman April 30, 2009 / 5:08 pm
    I love it!

    You continue to inspire.

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  2. Bob Mullins May 1, 2009 / 10:31 am
    David…I agree with your premise that formal organizations in today’s world may not get things done. 

    But in reality these formal organizations began, as you say with “like minded people coming together”. Unfortunately as these folks came together rules, policies, and procedures were promulgated….the organizations developed an identity and a culture…..oftentimes the “like mindedness”  of purpose becomes lost in the organization’s identity.
    BTW I find your use of the phrase “crazy people” both offensive and ignorant.  You can do better than insulting folks with serious illnesses.
     

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  3. David Esrati May 1, 2009 / 12:05 pm

    @Bob-
    So noted, redacted. Mental illness is an illness- to be dealt with by health professionals in a safe setting. Unfortunately, starting in 1980, with Regan’s brilliant leadership, we closed most of the government run safe havens for those who didn’t have the capacity to function within society- beginning our first wave of homelessness.
    Thanks for the redress.

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  4. Jim Crotty May 1, 2009 / 12:25 pm
    Going off topic from the original post, Bob makes a good point. However, David is smart enough to know the difference between those who are labeled mentally ill – or “crazy” – and those who do the labeling. Sure, I have some anger when I’m referred to as a “mental nut case” in the secluded confines of Dayton’s country clubbers, but I also know that such name calling and convenient labeling is far more revealing about those who so eagerly wield their own special brand of ignorance.

    As I like to say, it’s those who refuse to admit their own “issues” and seek help who cause the real damage to society.

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  5. David E. Bowman May 9, 2009 / 8:32 am
    David, 

    Thrilled that you took the time to speak at the last Big Idea Breakfast.  Your idea, along with the others, was excellent.  I appreciate your contribution to making the event great.    

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