Chicago safe Practice
A DIGITAL-AGE WAY TO START
MAKING CHICAGO SAFE
IT STARTS SMALL. REAL SMALL.
WITH TWO EMPTY CHAIRS
on an empty set...
airing as a
three-minute news feature on THE
tv evening news
on one lucky chicago tv station
three minutes. . .
with the chairs soon to be taken by
two top Chicago leaders
and not just by ANY top two leaders, but by
deserve TO SEE
for a change
SO HOW can to get
two leaders LEADING?
first: find two feuding leaders
who are willing
to work together
to make chicago safe
Easier said than done, right? But that's our job. To find two top leaders willing to put aside their differences long enough to complete ON DEADLINE and over a NUMBER OF WEEKS a
OF THEIR OWN DESIGN TO
MAKE CHICAGO SAFE
(We 're pretty certain that two willing leaders are out there.)
ok, so suppose we find them . . .
how will they team up on the
first two chairs segment?
On their first TWO CHAIRS appearance, two feuding leaders silently take their seats on a dramatically darkened two chairs set and introduce themselves to viewers by name and title only. No more. Viewers are wondering what will happen next.
Then they rise, shake hands and join a moderator seated at the station's regular interview desk. Here they discuss their project to make Chicago SAFE, along with their plan to complete it on deadline. Solemnly pledging completion, the leaders again shake hands.
The moderator wraps up this first segment telling viewers that they are watching a new way of addressing Chicago's violence. He/she gives a preview of what viewers can expect to see in coming weeks. And, how they can participate. It's all pretty low key. Don't overplay it. Don't overpromise. Don't raise expectations too high. Sustain the drama. So people can wonder, think , talk about what they hope to see next. . .
Have Chicagoans ever seen anything like this on the evening news?
TWO CHAIRS IS a new waY of doing politics.
a collaborative game.
played publicly. so
chicagoans can see it.
and play it.
The leaders are playing a game. So are Chicagoans. It's a game for Chicago. For the safety of all Chicagoans. High stakes. So there's RISK. Especially if the game is rigged. The game has RULES. Rules to create a level playing field, keep the game honest and build TRUST. The rules are posted at the station's website. And they're constantly voiced by the moderator. And by the two leaders as well.
It's a collaborative game. The leaders either win or lose together. With collaboration, they both can win. So can Chicago. Without it, they lose. Big time. So does Chicago.
Winning doesn't come easy. It requires teamwork from big ego leaders who have never collaborated. And teamwork on a new project devised by the leaders themselves. Or on a promising older project that lacked collaboration.
In coming weeks, the host station airs brief weekly TWO CHAIRS updates, with video clips, on progress made (or not made) towards project completion. Other local media start following the game and reporting on it. Critiquing it. Or contributing to it. National media pick up the story too. Because the Two Chairs game is a new way of doing politics. Of getting good things done.
But that's not all. Because. . .
chicagoans are PLAYING
the two chairs public safety game TOO
Two Chairs invites Chicagoans to give their advisory input on the proceedings of the game in any number of ways: via cell phone votes, emails, polls or through other media that have picked up on the TWO CHAIRS game.
Only positive input makes the cut. Negative input is out. The constructive voices of Chicago are being heard, including the voices of the voiceless. Great ideas are seeing the light of day. And Chicagoans are pressing the two leaders to do what Chicagoans desperately want them to do: make Chicago SAFE.
Overnight, TWO CHAIRS is the talk of the town. The game of making Sweet Home Chicago SAFE is becoming a citywide experience.
It's a game to build TRUST. To DISSOLVE the mistrust that pervades Chicago today and keeps the city violent. The game challenges five groups - Chicago's leaders, its police, its public health professionals, its citizens of all ages and backgrounds and its media to BRING OUT THE BEST in each other - not the worst - in Chicago's drive to make itself SAFE.
Whether Chicago wins or loses this game depends entirely on how much Chicago WANTS to make itself SAFE. How so? Because the rules of this game don't reward whining, attacking, blaming, squabbling or buckpassing. They reward Chicagoans listening to and learning from each other to make Chicago safe.
After six or eight weeks, on the deadline day, the two leaders again appear on TV. Either to celebrate with Chicago their completed TWO CHAIRS project. Or to request an extension.
With luck, the leaders may have bonded and may even collaborate in the future.
With these three-minute segments,
the evening news has created an ongoing,
digital-age public forum
ok, mission accomplished
so what next?
WHAT'S THE FUTURE
public safety in chicAGO?
First, let's recap. TWO CHAIRS has just made a bit of digital-age history. For the first time, a far-sighted TV station has connected citizens and leaders of a great American city to advance the cause of citywide safety.
This station, along with the City and the people of Chicago, have collectively taken a first a step forward towards realizing the possibility of something lacking everywhere in America today:
So what's next? Rinse and repeat TWO CHAIRS. With fresh pairs of political foes, new projects and new pledges made and kept . . . or not kept. The game goes on.
Before long, more ambitious, media-based Chicago SAFE games can invite and challenge Chicagoans themselves - citizens of all ages and backgrounds - to compete and collaborate with each other in small, creative, safety-minded teams in Chicago's ongoing drive to make itself SAFE. (Here's an overview of Chicago Fixit, our most ambitious format.)
As for Chicago's media, they can profit handsomely from Chicago SAFE games. Effectively produced, the games can aggregate the largest of all large Chicago markets: the MARKET OF THE WHOLE of all Chicagoans with a stake in the safety of their neighborhoods and city. That's every man, woman and child in the city.
And the idea behind these games?