Our Lives Just Changed. Forever. And For The Better.

Obama wins. America gets a new service innovation capability.

It took only seconds after McCain’s concession last night for e-mails to start arriving from Brazil, Malaysia, and Europe. The most significant one, in my opinion, was the one I got from President-elect Obama. In it, he said “I’ll be in touch soon about what comes next.”

It’s the first time in my life that any president has made himself accountable to me first-hand. Now I know he wasn’t writing just to me. Millions of people got that note. But that’s the point. Millions of people got that note.

Sending that short and grateful email rqeuired a powerful, well-designed one-on-one communications capability*. Aside from platoform promises, it’s probably the most valuable asset of this new administration. This new on-demand communication toolset can be used to open up communications between our elected officials and those they represent. It seems to me the representative part of ‘representative democracy’ is getting its due.

When any service business decides to innovate, and the government is a service business, it has to first create the necessary new capabilities. The Obama Campaign’s communications capability helped organize the efforts of over five million volunteers. While built with the intent of winning an election, that same capability, focused on projects and initiatives–can help us get things done on a scale and at a speed that’s unprecedented.

The 2008 Election serves as a soon-to-be-classic case study in service innovation. First, define the future you want, then build the capabilities that will get you there. A good less for all of us working on the front lines of service brands.

* ‘Capability” defined: The combination of people, process, tools, and busienss rules, that actually get work done.MW