We recently completed our global Integrity Idol campaign – an annual TV show and citizen movement to find, film and celebrate honest government officials. It shifts the negative conversation around corruption from “naming and shaming” the wrong-doers, to a positive “naming and faming” public servants that are building accountability.
Previous winners have included an incredible education official from eastern Nepal; a nurse from central Liberia and an army chief from northern Mali. Now we are building a network of these officials to share ideas, collaborate on initiatives, and amplify progress.
In Nepal, the movement has grown quickly and is beginning to shift mindsets. Dor Bikram Shrees, a school principal from the remote Gulmi district won the trophy this year and was welcomed home as a hero with hundreds of people lining the street and singing his name.
To improve the campaign over time in Nepal, we’ve integrated continual feedback mechanisms into the process. Here are three we like:
- Bake Feedback into the Design– Integrity Idol itself is inherently a feedback process. Any citizen can nominate an honest government official, and once the episodes are aired on TV, anyone can vote for their favorite by SMS or online. Then we organize a public ceremony with plenty of local print and radio media so voters can see their nominees being publicly celebrated. This reinforces the importance of the process and encourages continued engagement. For example, the number of nominations has increased by over 300% and votes by over 1000% in just 3 years.
- Collect Data Wherever we Can– We mobilize hundreds of volunteers through Integrity Idol in Nepal, and use their youthful energy to generate data at every opportunity. They talk to citizens about their concerns as they collect nominations, chat to guests at the ceremony about how we’re doing and carry out surveys to understand which parts of the campaign can be improved. This is not scientific, but it allows us to adapt and improve over time.
- Don’t Forget to Have Fun– Though Integrity Idol has a serious message, it is an upbeat movement–and our amazing team in Kathmandu doesn’t forget that. This keeps energy high and ensures that if there are challenges, people trust each other enough to provide feedback and work through them. We organize experience sharing sessions and make sure there are enough social activities that people feel free to share ideas. Part of closing the feedback loop is making sure it isn’t a tiresome, check-box exercise- but rather a positive, fun experience.
This year we’ll work with the feedback we’ve received to make sure we improve the Integrity Idol campaign even further. We’re going to consolidate this into an Integrity Idol wiki-handbook that can be continually updated and shared with partners in other countries too. Join us in finding more Integrity Idols through feedback- e-mail me at [email protected]!
Blair Glencorse is Executive Director of the Accountability Lab, an incubator for creative ideas to build accountability and fight corruption. Follow the Lab on Twitter @accountlab Blair is also a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Anti-Corruption and Transparency and a Social Impact Fellow at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, Blair was an advisor to the now President of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani, and worked for the World Bank on issues of governance and development.