single Category Archives aligned strategy

grayscale photo featuring a jigsaw puzzle piece jumbled in with other pieces, not yet assembled into a whole

If you've ever had to translate policy work into the urgent, human narrative of social change, this roadmap from Sarah Jane Staats and Todd Moss of Energy for Growth Hub can help you. Some of their humble, practical insights that I especially recommend include:

• Policy influence isn’t “direct, straightforward, or predictable." Multiple factors are in play.
• We “influence" and help “instigate” change. We’re not the single cause.
As a result, “attribution is messy.” Policy ideas, even the best most impactful ones, don’t usually have clear KPIs.
• To assess effective policy proposals, we can invest more in “tracking demand from policymakers.”

Storytelling for advocacy is a challenge, especially in transparency work, where the characters are often lawyers—or laws—and not mythical heroes. As advocates who want to make a point to make a change, we need vivid imagery to deliver our message, especially because the changes we seek can be hard to explain.

We seek compelling stories the same way those heroes seek magic hammers and hidden temples. We’re on a quest for stories that can remake the world. But—spoiler alert—the quest often ends in disappointment.

During late 2016, I had the opportunity to talk with Greenpeace leaders and activists from six continents about the Mobilisation Lab, a remarkable and remarkably successful effort to spark change from within a long-standing activist institution.

An internal department created to build organizational strength in "people-powered" campaigning and digital skills, the MobLab has inspired me since its founding. Through a combination of storytelling, trust-building, design thinking and rigorous humility, the MobLab team and the Greenpeace leaders supporting them seemed to me to have created a better model for organizational change—especially for digital advocacy—than most of the other initiatives I've seen in my 20 years watching non-profits and big brands try to keep up with evolving tools and behaviors.