I’ve been reading The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande and am taking away two key ideas, neatly expressed by reviewer Davis Liu:
Dr. Gawande makes two points, checklists and clear communications among teams, are absolutely required to decrease errors and problems and increase the chances of absolutely the best outcome, whether in constructing buildings, flying airplanes, and performing surgery. We aren’t perfect. Systematic approaches make us better.
If we in Eastwood think of our neighborhood as being one of a number of teams that make up the larger team called Syracuse, then we may be able to make better use of the same kind of systems thinking and systematic approaches that airlines pilots, building engineers and (many) medical professionals use.
It’s looking like the Miner administration has put in place a good number of people who are working on getting current and correct information about various aspects of the city and communicating it to the neighborhoods. It has to be a daunting task. But with the city website, YouTube site and FaceBook page, clearly an effort is being made.
A recent article in the Eagle News featuring the Eastwood Chamber of Commerce highlights how the city is creating a citywide clearinghouse of information on the hundreds of vacant properties in the city. Other organizations from other neighborhood are also participating, bringing to the table the knowledge they have about vacant properties so that a “master list of vacant and available commercial properties” can be created and put to work.
So we’ve recognized that we’re members of Team Syracuse.
We’re improving communication between Eastwood and the rest of the team.
Now we just need a couple checklists: one that makes sure all the steps in a given project are taken, and another to make sure all the players have participated in the communication piece.
The upcoming A-OK Weekend – that’s Acts Of Kindness – is a fabulous opportunity to get to know our city better. If all we do is read about what others in other neighborhoods are doing that weekend, it’s a start. But if we go visit other neighborhoods and get to know some other people, how much better! There are more and more fascinating things going on at the neighborhood level, and one of them I learned about recently.
A couple weeks ago, I was standing around at the Arts & Crafts Festival, dressed up like a flamenco singer, when I happened upon Dan Ward and a fellow who was introduced to me as Dennis Heaphy, of the Heaphy tinsmithing family here in Syracuse. Turns out, Dennis is three things interesting to me:
- The resident tinsmith for the Statue of Liberty (read more)
- A flamenco aficionado who had just been to the extremely narrow Ñ tapas bar in SoHo (so narrow, its name is only one letter long!) where he had been captivated by the same flamenco dancer, Rebeca Tomás, that we’d gotten to know the previous month.
- The same fellow I’d been looking for to make replicas of the speaking tube whistle that neighbor Sig Snyder had given me when we discovered speaking tubes in our walls (they’re all over the city, by the way – you might have one, too, if you live on the second floor of a 2- or 3-family house!)
So a few days ago, Dennis stopped over to discuss the speaking tube. I think eventually he’ll help me put this whole thing together so it works again. But the really important thing I learned while standing out on the front porch is that he’s a singer and songwriter who loves theater and who has composed a song entitled No Matter Where You Put It© for the upcoming Tipp Hill Music Festival on Saturday, September 18.
So tell me folks, isn’t this city becoming cooler by the minute? Don’t forget, we also have the neighborhood-uniting Art In Motion Spectacular coming up on Saturday, Sept 11 at 2 pm in Armory Square.
I encourage anyone from Eastwood to visit other neighborhoods and especially their festivals. Not going to them is like never making it to Niagara Falls even though you live in Syracuse. Such a pity.