No doubt you are using social marketing and other approaches to social change because doing good is like breathing air for you: it is all part of your evil plan to make a living doing what you love and doing your best to make a dent in the universe. Many public, private and nonprofit organizations are in the exciting business of organizing and managing people like you to stimulate and facilitate social change. Yet, when I spend a few hours with some of these managers and staff, there is an anesthetic quality to their approach: a loss of all sensations and passions that originally drove them to this type of work.
Much of this loss of sensation seems to be the result of decisions that block out creativity, curiosity and courage among the workforce. Creativity that sparks new approaches to understanding or solving wicked problems (even when the current ones are "OK"). Curiosity to discover what the frontiers could be for personal and organizational growth and impact. Courage to stretch beyond the accepted and known (and not fear negative repercussions from colleagues and supervisors).
You or your organization may have anesthetic management syndrome if you find yourselves asking variants of these questions.
1. How can we remain invisible?
2. Can we just stick to doing one thing well?
3. How can we be all things for all people?
4. How do we keep our distinct professional identities?
5. How do we build and maintain silos of excellence?
6. What is our next project?
7. How do we benefit from doing things more slowly?
8. How can we become even more cautious and deliberate?
9. How can we more efficiently get from Point A to Point B?
10. How can we continue to treat each new challenge as a unique one?
11. How do we stop feeling time pressure?
12. Why don't we just do what we know how to do best?
13. Can we stay focused on the small stuff?
14. How do we keep personalities and passions out of our decision-making processes?
15. Can we develop a simple approach/solution that applies to most (all) of our work?
To become more creative, curious and courageous first means reclaiming your point-of-view about why you do what you do. Then change your professional networks, the people you mix with outside work, the books and other media you consume and the conferences you attend to ones that feed what you want to be - not what you have become.