Aug 18



Apr 29

Public Policy and Community

public_policy_aboutbipp580pxIt is a consistent adage that there is no “perfect” public policy. You could argue things like women’s suffrage and reconciliation to right the wrongs our founding fathers did (or more accurately didn’t do) regarding non-white races (the despicable “3/5th” compromise) should be no-brainers… but still there isn’t perfection. Someone, even those simply living with racist or sexist attitudes,  will criticize legislation stating some kind of imperfection.

But that’s the point. Public Policy will never reach a perfection. Legislation intent, wording, amendments, enforcement, repeal… our system is built with these imperfections into the systems. We actually need these imperfections to truly showcase our freedom, our democracy. Without them, we would have a dictatorship or an oligarchy… a system that denies imperfection because it can quell debate.

This is why it always intrigues me about local government and local ordinance/legislation issues. While we all, in some form of intuition, agree that laws/ordinance aren’t perfect, we often neglect that other component of public policy. Not the “policy part… the “public” part.

Laws are built and often they are in some kind of opposition to our own personal values. It’s inevitable. Ever see someone around April jumping up and down yelling, “Yee-Haa! It’s time to pay taxes! So fun!”

Um, no.

But it is done. It is done (perhaps grudgingly) because we know that the social contract we have as a community tells us that these rules (or these taxes) are used for the benefit of the common good.. or the common interest.  Putting it another way… it benefits community.

Community isn’t one-size-fits-all. It is debates, disagreements, consensus, joy, togetherness, isolation.. the works. But still, with all these things, community proceeds. It marches on. We can join it or retreat from it.

What amazes me is people who “personalize” public policy. What I mean by this is when take their personal opinion (or what they feel the effect will cause to “them”) and try to debate using that alone. They said things like the “the reason this is bad law is that ‘they’ will be hurt by it.” When pressed to identify who the “they” is, very often it is concluded quickly – there is no “they”… there is just a “me.”one_way_Economics-Degree-Public-Policy

Now understand, I’m not saying you not allowed to have a personal opinion or position. On the contrary, that is the right of every person. However, that personal opinion only fuels the public policy debate, not frames it.  Just because you don’t like something or feel something will “hurt” you, doesn’t mean it is an invalid policy. It just means you have recognized that is isn’t jiving with you personal opinion.

Now it’s your job to expand that out into the public. Other may agree with you, but you need to position your thoughts relative to that – at least you need to to be effective as an influencer.  Take politicians. No matter the level (federal, state, local) politicians build their argument by building coalitions. Strength in numbers. One politicians pushing a personal agenda is an easy dismiss. A coalition? Now that’s policy savvy.

Why is this on my brain? I was just witness to the perfect example of confusion between public policy and personal opinion AND policy versus political.  A local ordinance debate shifted to a “I’m hurt by this” discussion.

Yes, someone will have to adjust with new ordinances. Someone always does. If it is someone else, it just a thing. But if it’s YOU who senses to danger, then of course the law is terrible.

Bigger picture people are always needed to remind us all that these kinds of debates – about public policy – need to settle inside the realm of “what is strong for the community” and slide away from “it hurts me.”

“There’s a tremendous gap between public opinion and public policy,” said noted American political philosopher Noam Chomsky.
Indeed there is.
The challenge for us who want to be leaders and community change agents is to remind ourselves that the strength of community development is not in personal.. but in the public. It is in the approach to rise our level of debate beyond out backyard.. and to see all the grass around us. (sing it, Luda.)
Just my $.02 cents…. ~DK

Feb 05

Re-Welcome to the DK site!

Um, Bonjour! And a hearty “re-welcome” to my little slice of the Interweb! Also, wanted to invite you to check out my other slice of the World Wide Web… my new venture called “Connect The Dots Movement.”

The past has no power over the present(1)

Much love, y’all… -DK

Dec 04

join the .movement

it’s time to change what it means to be community. + .org + .edu + .gov = .community

join the .movement

Oct 06

Coming Soon… A New Movement in Community Activation

I know, I know… that title sounds like a terrible movie hype preview (with that guy with the “in a world” voice), but I am excited to launch a new venture here soon.coming-soon-2

It will be something that combines the best of what is… with the best of what can be.

Too often, our communities and their connections to those within it (whether is be to organizations, kick ass volunteers, government, supporters, or one another frankly)… these connections are based within a model — a system that doesn’t embrace collaboration fully, creativity completely, or innovation openly.

You’ve experienced this before. Asking yourself, “how do they know of that?” Or maybe it’s “how do they know him/her in that department?” “Who has the time?” “Is that how we should be doing business?”  Why. Not. Us?

This is especially important in the nonprofit and social enterprise segment of our communities. We battle for donors’ attention (and cash-ola), we are demanded to “do more with less”, and we court donors and funding based upon a set of systems that do not truly look to innovate – but simply revert to stale methods and processing of paperwork (if you’ve written a grant, then you know how little “wow” there is in the process I speak of)… our entire attitude toward nonprofits and the sector is counter-intuitive for community development. It’s who you know. Not as much on performance, impact, passion, and collaboration.  Diversity is nice to talk about… but diversity as a collaborative engine? Getting people, places, and processes to dance a new dance? Now we’re talkin’!

It’s time to connect this up. It’s time to Connect the Dots.

Systems, by their design and their historically operating (and terrible) cliches “it’s just how we do things”/ “it’s the way we always done it”, very often hampers activation of a community. This is what stifles creativity and limits the ability of a community to activate the very best from within and develop its collective character fully.  Simply put, the way we do things is dated. It doesn’t connect all the necessary dots.

We will connect the dots. .com | .org | .edu | .gov …it’s time to build a better “.community” for us all.

Stay tuned for more on this… and stay tuned to learn more about our movement to Connect The Dots.

Cheers… -DK

Feb 17

Phased In For A Bite (Blue Moon in downtown York, PA)

Time to hit the streets and find a place to nosh. Myself and my dining partner (aka “My Better Half”) went looking for that special combo that one often strives to find: a place that buzzes a bit with the sound of fun and energy, and combines a great evening out with yummy food…

Walking into Blue Moon at 361 West Market Street is one of those moments when a venture out for food turns into a “visit” – like stopping over a friend’s house. The atmosphere presents itself in a really interesting way. The moment you enter the front door, a peek around a center column wall gives you a nice view of an open bistro space of earth tones with patches of blues and the reds and yellows from the room’s  fireplace.  A warm welcome, a walk to the table, coats to the coat rack. It’s eats time.

The menu is full of great spots to make the jump off, but we are focused on kicking this off right, so appetizer-ville here we come.

Leading Off (coupled with Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys on the house sound) is the “Bang Bang Shrimp.” And just like the name suggests, this tasty portion is really a starting gun for the mealtime fun about to happen.

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Boom Boom Shrimp (Boom. Mic Drop on this app.)

Romaine lettuce, diced red peppers and scallions are there at the party with you, but the headliners are those tasty little shrimp and the just-the-right amount of Remoulade-like sauce that complements the seafood. It’s an app solid for one, but most accommodating for two – even with the obligatory “battle for the last shrimpy” to which I am often the loser.




This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

This salad has Bacon Jam as an amazing component. Bacon. Jam.

Next up (to the sweet sounds of “Be My Little Baby” by The Ronettes)… and “little salad” to share. Whew! Thank goodness this was a sharing situation as well, because this was an amazing salad. The Bibb Lettuce Salad is just chalk full of tasty bits. including Maytag Blue Crumbles, Dried Blueberries, Toasted Pecan Halves and finished with a Bueberry Vinaigrette (and let’s not forget the bibb lettuce). Then there is the Bacon Jam. Let’s pause for a second and think about these two words: Bacon. Jam.

Wow. Now that is a salad to spark conversation and a happy smile on one’s face.


Batting third in this delicious lineup was the main course (serenaded by the sweet sounds of Angie by The Rolling Stones). My better half went with the Flounder, sauteed in browned butter with fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce.  Her review of this?

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

Flounder, sauteed in browned butter, fresh lemon juice, white wine and Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

“Super yummy, DK. Super. Yummy.”

How can you beat that?









For Yours Truly dinner was featuring Pan Seared Diver Scallops. These tasty morsels were prepared with a red beet glaze, and came smartly with some roasted corn risotto and garlic broccolini.  The presentation was beautiful and colorful.  Risotto was cooked to perfection and didn’t move from “risotto” into “just some rice.”

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

Holy yummy, Batman. This is filled with deliciousness. Great scallops, crisy garlic broccolini, and wonderful risotto. Eat This.

The broccolini had a nice crispness to them (which I appreciate from the chef) and a good hit of garlic in every bite. These sidemen were beautifully blended and nice complements to the scallops.  Speaking of those scallops, wow. Headlining act for sure. Presentation and balance of the glaze was just enough.. and not to the point were we had a foodstuff drowning in sauce. This was a well presented and well balanced entree.




Finally, our clean up hitter was a taste powerhouse (coming full circle with another Beach Boys classic, “God Only Knows”), Chocolate Empanadas.  There was certain appreciation for the main component, the empanadas, and its wonderful presentation. But for the experience, the secondary components were the stars.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

Chocolately Goodness with some great dance partners: fresh berries, smooth whipped cream, and amazing hot fudge. This is a must.

The fresh chocolate hot fudge, amazingly bright and crisp raspberries, whipped cream ready to stand on its peaks alone, and some cool vanilla bean ice cream – these item were built to create an incredible final act.

For someone looking for a nice place with nicer people and with the nicest eats, York Blue Moon is one of those places that will cure what ailes you.  So whether your night out with friends and/or loved ones has a companion of a Full, Half, or Crescent Moon.. just be sure that it’s Blue Moon when visiting downtown York, PA.


Nov 02

#Heroes Wanted

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (

Join The Hero Round Table on Nov 9-10, 2013 (

This week I will be shipping off the Flint, Michigan where I will be honored to be one of the presenters at an extraordinary event: The Hero Round Table.  This Saturday and Sunday (Nov 9-10) speakers from many different industries and disciplines will come together and talk about Heroes.  This event is arguably, as the organizers say, “a conference to democratize heroism.”

Because that’s what we need today… more heroes.

Now, I’m not one to suggest that I have a all the answers to all the problems we face. I don’t think I’m the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I’m sure not the dullest. I have experienced many people and places, and have been lucky to see a good deal of our country. And it’s from this that I think I can safely say that we need, probably now more than ever, more heroes.

Our political leaders? Failing us. Our education system? Failing many of us. Our position in the world? Faltering around us.

Where have all the heroes gone?

They’re here. All around us.. in fact, you’re with one right now…  Because YOU are a hero.

We ALL our heroes.

The problem with our sense of heroism is “the big wait and see.” What is that? That’s the feeling that I think most of us have in terms of understanding our potential as “a hero.” We see the idea of a hero in a situational way. Wait for the moment when a hero would be needed… and see if you have “the stuff” to act as a hero in that time in need.  A fire in a building, do you rush in to save someone? Car accident on the roadside? Do you pull over to assist? Walk by a group of individuals accosting a innocent bystander? Do you move to protect someone from injury?

But the heroes that are needed, they don’t need to wait and see. They need to do and be seen.

Too often the very best in us is left on the sideline, waiting to be unleashed, but left “to someone else.” We spend a lot of time wondering how we would react, but never act. We watch heroes on television – and think those only happen because of great costumes and some good writing by the show’s producers. We skip over the obvious.

Heroes are needed in the everyday. Going to work. Teaching our kids. Showing by example what it means to be heroic in the choices made in daily life. The sense that heroic actions can’t happen daily… that is what holds us back.

So here is the challenge: Let’s make the good choices in life “heroic choices.” Now, this doesn’t mean I’m one of these “everyone gets a trophy..even you 9th place guy.” No, we’re not talking about “everybody wins” here… it’s celebrating when someone sees a need to step up… and does. No award needed.

That’s what The Hero Round Table is all about. Celebrating not just the potential of heroes, but recognizing that we are here… and we are doing good. Now. For others. For our communities.

Check out our list of speakers and most of all, check out our call to action. Don’t sit on the sidelines. You are a hero to someone, maybe more than you think… and maybe to more people than you think… It’s time to celebrate this. It’s time to celebrate YOU.


Oct 29

Paging DK. Mr. DK. Please Report to Your Blog.

In the immortal words of President William Jefferson Clinton, “I did not have sex with that woman… Miss Lewinsky.”


Wait, what?

No, what I meant to say was “I’m sorry.” (Something the former President might have considered at the time of the above quote and presidential “wag o’ the finger”)…

I’m sorry I haven’t been posting regularly.  This is where many would throw out a list of reasons like moving, new client work, a new house, tons of speaking/working gigs, etc. But not me. Nope. Won’t do it.

I’ll just say I hope to get back on the writing horse here again and ride off into the prose sunset.. or something.

Anyway, thank you for hanging in there and enjoying the ride with me… Cheers to you all!

Aug 03

Fuelin’ That “Creative Up Meter”

Is Your Creative Up Meter at Full??

Is Your Creative Up Meter at Full??

Hi InterWeb Peeps! First let me apologize for not having a posting since the Franklin Pierce administration.  Like most of us, the world and all it’s needs and demands caught up with me and moved this here space lower and lower on the “DK Do” List.

What’s funny about saying that out loud is the idea of an actual “life list” – putting things in your life into an order and saying “nope..before you do this, you need to do that.”  Now don’t get me wrong, having priorities and the need to decide on what are actions and what aren’t isn’t something terrible; it’s just the fact that sometimes in our busy lives and 24-hour news-like deadlines and action items… we choose OUT of passions and things that inspire us or move our internal needle. In essence, we prioritize DOWN our CREATIVE UP METER.

Think right now what you love to do. What you have a passion for… what moves you. How often do you give yourself time to do it? Ever say something like “if I have time after XXXX, I’ll see if I can get to it.”….

Ironically, it is those things that makes us happy, inspired, or fill us with passion – it’s those things that we constantly need to refuel into ourselves so that we might effectively take care of those “life lists.”

Now it is true that on a whim you can’t just walk into your boss on a Tuesday afternoon and say, “Look Ms. BigTime, I am running short of awesome-sauce. So I think I’ll just pop out for a couple hours and do some free climbing up our 15-story building here. See you at staff meeting at 3.” Moderation, people. Even in my silly ideas and thoughts here.  But the conceptual idea of filling that Creative Up Meter is key to success. This has run by you as many other idioms: “Work/Life Balance” or “Mental Breaks” or even finding some “Me Time” during a day. Essentially this is the point in a similar way… except for one slight shaded difference.

To be effective in life, we MUST have the fuel that drives our creativity. So it isn’t a balancing act (work then play), it’s a go-no-go act (fuel in car? car goes. no fuel? welp, start walking pal).

I don’t look at this as a “fill out this column and then balance it with that column” but rather like an “If/Then” statement. IF there is that time to build my Creative Up Meter, THEN I will be ready to tackle that “DK Do” list and rock out my day with check marks and “completed” status updates. Without it, the to do list is still there, but the action and the timing of such action is effected… perhaps even not done to the level you even wanted to do.

For me, writing and music fuel me. Not doing them for some length of time leads me to feel that sluggish, “just getting done what needs to be done” kind of vibe. Does it mean I’m skipping out on work needs or life tasks? Nope. But am I doing it with purpose, or passion… or with my personal identity shining through it – my personal Life Stamp as it were? Most likely, not really.

100% Pure Awesome-Sauce (no substitutes)

100% Pure Awesome-Sauce (no substitutes)

And THAT’S why it’s important. I WANT to see that stamp of life from my colleagues, clients, vendors, family and friends. I NEED to experience their work efforts as seen connected with their joys and passions. It’s why we hang with the people we do, right? There’s a lot of bands out there, but the ones that MOVE us… their work brings us joy. And we are moved by that joy.  That formula translates elsewhere in daily life too.

So don’t short change your work, your needs, and especially you. Be sure to always give yourself those times to fuel that Creative Up Meter… so that your creativity is seen and experienced by all of us.

Here’s to your Creative Meter… happy times getting that up to hit a full tank. Cheers. ~DK

Jun 11

Time for a S-T-R-E-T-C-H

stretch“Measure Twice, Cut Once.”  I use this phrase more often than an NSA official uses the phrase “Can you hear me now, Verizon?” (sorry Mr. President, but really…oh, and for those of you monitoring me, I was just kidding about the whole NSA/Verizon tapping thing I just mentioned).

I have been known to be “that guy” who ramps into cool, innovative idea.. but then asks to hit the brakes and slow down.  Prep work before busy work. Getting it right, to be sure you get it right.

But there’s my other side… the side that wants to just GO GO GO… especially when, as Tin Cup told us, a feeling of when a “tuning fork goes off in your heart.”

You KNOW it’s good to go. You’re READY. But your calmer half hits pause for the cause. “Wait,” he says. “Be patient.”

Screw patience.

Sometimes the sense for a need for calm and a calculated decision sounds right.. but isn’t. You need to stretch, damn the torpedoes, and get a-rollin’! The sense of immediacy, the sense of vitality that washes over you on one of these power decisions (Let’s do this!) is pretty remarkable, positive, and daring.

Now, Mr. Risk Management Guy/Girl reading this, easy does it. I’m not suggesting strategic planning and monster decisions should be based on a “YEEE-HAAA” and a hop on the nearest missile to launch. What I am suggesting it that the idea of “paralysis by analysis” is real. And too often, it is certain moments like this that slide our trajectory  ever so slightly… and change a great idea into a kind-of-good one. Still a victory… but not one of those “tuning forks goes off in your heart” ones.

It is in the nature of many of us to be either one or the other. You know these friends. The one who is so impulsive you wonder how she ever finds her way home because you are convinced that between you seeing her and her walking away, she will decide to fly to Cuba. Or that buddy of yours that is so painstakingly slow that you need to tell him about the weekend plans on Monday, just so he can decide if he’s in or out… the mix of these friends and personality types gives us our amazing friendship circles, and makes events and everyday hanging out so much fun.

But for YOU. For you and your direction in life, in business, in so many other decisions… allow for times of impulse.  I see the need for these moments especially in those idea sessions and brainstorming (dare I say, an “Idea Break?”)… turn your ideas loose and see what happens.

For example, I was pitching a client idea for a campaign. Almost immediately into the initial tick-tock of the basics, a lone voice popped up announcing “that’s too big and too expensive for what we have here.”  He was probably right, and truthfully, the idea of a tad too big for the immediate moment of the organization… that is until I continued and positioned how a campaign like this can be done in stages, where it isn’t a “hit the home run” kind of approach; but rather a plan for “singles and doubles” to reach the eventual endpoint… and that it could be done, with a little boldness and passion toward the end vision. Guard dropped, everyone allowed for their personal passion and belief in what a campaign like that could be, to be thrown over any analytical choke-point.. and a plan emerged. Stretched with passion and drive… not with worry or doubt.steal2_keep1st

Impulsiveness isn’t the greatest of qualities all the time, but confidence in one’s abilities to launch a project with passion and drive is something else. There will forever be fear of the unknown, a fear of failure. But I feel a greater fear: when I notice that an idea of mine never moved past the initial thought; and then I see it pop up somewhere else.. and that drives my batty.  It’s time to let your skills and passion run wild every so often.  Project feels too daunting? Stretch out and get into it.  Feel like you want to start a hobby but don’t feel like you have the time? Dare yourself to budget your hours more wisely.  Worried that a pitch for business is far beyond your reach? Double down, build that kick-ass presentation, and knock the socks off the big boys in the room.

How will you know when you are able to do this? Easy. Grab a mirror and ask yourself this…. “Am I ready to stretch?”

Then get to it, Plastic Man.  ~DK

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