Thursday, August 26, 2010

Information early and incomplete

At the end of the last century, when I was still working in a corporate job, the president of the company had a couple of cheesy (but useful) catch-phrases he used at almost every one of our monthly all-staff meetings. The first was “Know your business by the numbers” which led us to all review the various numbers for the company every month (budgets, sales, call-centre stats, email issue stats, etc.).

The second catch-phrase was “Information early and incomplete.” This one, in particular, has really stuck with me over the years. It means, even if you don’t have all the details or it’s otherwise incomplete, you share what you know as soon as you know it. It’s not a complex idea, but practicing it can have very significant impacts (and failing to practice it can also have massive impacts).

This came to mind again today as a major scheduling conflict emerged in the municipal election here. A couple of organizations are putting together mayoral candidate forums and scheduled them for exactly the same time (I got an email from one yesterday, and a Twitter announcement from the other today). Oops!

I contacted both organizers to point out the problem, and they are discussing how to fix it now. But, I hope we can avoid a repeat in future.

So, I’m strongly encouraging (practically begging) all the groups in town who want to schedule election events to do a couple things.
  1. Check the calendar of election-related events on Calgary Democracy.
  2. Send event “information early and incomplete” to me at open@calgarydemocracy.ca so I can keep a list of tentative/proposed events to help avoid further conflicts.

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