It was an enjoyable time at the Florida Recreation and Parks Association Conference in Orlando last week (unfortunately I was worried as my wife and son were at home waiting out hurricane Isaac). The topic I presented on was Technology's Approaching Impact on Parks and Recreation. What is unique about the group of leaders I spoke with is that they work in municipal governments, managing everything from cemeteries and fitness facilities to child care centers and parks (as one leader explained from the cradle to the grave).
Our company fitmarc serves a number of fitness centers operated by municipalities by helping them deliver Les Mills group fitness programming, and therefore I was delighted to speak with the group. However, in learning about the challenges these leaders face I discovered a few things.
You've heard the saying before; Eldridge Cleaver is often cited as having coined this phrase in a 1968 speech, Charles Rosner, a renowned advertiser and marketer, actually wrote "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem" for VISTA as a recruitment slogan in 1967. Why do I raise this question ? Because the idea that our governments are broken has as much to do with us as it has to do with "them".
Municipal, state and the federal governement are facing, like many of us in the commercial world, a decline in resources in the face of a spiraling demand for services. This dynamic exists in light of public policies and laws that sometimes are not practical or even relevant any longer. It also exists in a time when the opinion of Congress is at an all time low in the US. People look at government leaders sometimes like a "Monday morning quarterback". As the saying goes, if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. Enter projects like Code for America and its intelligent forward thinking founder Jennifer Pahlka (see the clip below). Check out the Open Government initiative. There are a group of activist citizens transforming the way that local, state and federal government can work by changing how things are done. In particular they are using inexpensive technologies to solve problems in ways that traditional governments have not and really cannot. I think the audience in Florida really liked the ideas these types of organizations are bringing to life all over America.
The solutions to many of our most pressing problems lie in the adoption of new methods and ways of thinking because the world has changed and the old ways of doing things often does not work anymore. We are after all in the midst of a revolution. But what about government ? How can these leaders really adapt these new methods given their predicament ? Check out Code for America and please review my FREE presentation on how technology is going to impact recreation and parks. Watch Jennifer Pahlka's talk on TED regarding her ideas of changing government. A special thanks to the Florida Recreation and Parks Association for allowing me the chance to share views with a special group of leaders. You guys rock and it was fun.
Tell me, Bryan O'Rourke, are you just going to complain about how things are or are YOU going to do something about it ? I'd love to hear from you and find out what you think.
About the author:
Bryan O’Rourke is a health club industry expert, technologist, financier, shareholder and executive in several fitness companies. He consults with global brands, serves as a member of the GGFA Think Tank, is President of the Fitness Industry Technology Council and a partner in Fitmarc, Integerus, Fitsomo and the Flywheel Group. To learn more contact Bryan here today .