The Mobilisation Journal: A Way To Spread Learning About Social Change Movements Innovative Use of Technology | Beth's Blog

The Mobilisation Journal: A Way To Spread Learning About Social Change Movements Innovative Use of Technology

Networked Nonprofit

The Greenpeace Mobilization Lab has a project proposal idea for a “Mobilization Journal” as part of  the Knight News Challenge.  It’s open for comments and feedback right now – or “applause.”   This blog shares some thoughts about this project and I have to give it a big round of applause.

To understand the project, you have to get familiar with work of Greenpeace Mobilisation Lab.  I’ve been following it for a while now and it is very inspiring on many different levels.    The laboratory gives Greenpeace and its partners a space to design, test, iterative, and roll out  new strategies and techniques for participatory campaigns or what has been called “People Powered.”    What happens in the lab is that they test campaign ideas that make use of new technologies such as  mobile phones, tablets, social media, email, and others, network approaches, and others.    But, more importantly, the lab documents and shares what has been learned with Greenpeace’s affiliates and leaders around the world.

This is an example of a nonprofit organization that has invested in building an internal learning and innovation network that will lead to improved results for Greenpeace’s environmental mission.   Here’s how they describe it:

By providing a space where new ideas can be supported and tested (and existing best practices can be cultivated and scaled), Greenpeace can better leverage the strengths of its existing global network; we build on what’s working. We seek to identify, test, and co-create new ways of engaging individuals more deeply to protect the environment and promote peace. We also embrace a decentralized, networked approach, allowing Greenpeace and its allies and supporters to be nimble, agile and react quickly to a constantly changing landscape.

Greenpeace is running an internal innovation lab, much like what large companies around the world – and especially here in Silicon Valley.      The Mobilisation Lab works with Greenpeace and its partners on the following services:

  • Mobilisation Strategy and Design :: creative and collaborative workshops with multidisciplinary teams
  • Assessments and Review :: evaluating past performance to inform future mobilisation efforts
  • Data Analysis and Research :: building a culture of data-driven campaigning, designing tests with campaigns and offices, and setting up controlled experiments to optimize and improve performance
  • Training and Peer Learning :: skill-building, knowledge sharing, and network building
  • Storytelling and Knowledge Transfer :: sharing innovations, lessons learned, fail stories, and emerging best practices
  • Staffing Support :: advising on staffing structures, integration efforts, and hands-on support with talent recruitment and hiring
  • Innovation Incubation :: piloting new ways of working, from practices to technologies
  • Systems Change :: advising global organisation, campaign teams, and NROs on new ways of working

But what is I like is that their lessons learned from this work doesn’t stay behind a password protected vault.    They are openly, aggressively sharing what they learn through the reports, tool kits, and updates on the site.    Here’s a sampling of the some of the gems you’ll find:

  • Creating Shareable Social Media Content:  You’ll find some excellent frameworks for campaign strategy and using different tools.  This one is for social media.   There’s many other toolkits on the lab site, but I found this of special interest.
  • Networked NGOs: This section shares stories from NGOs in their network about they are successfully plugging into citizen networks.
  • Data and Analytics: This section shares analysis and data from campaigns and how they applied it.

The Mobilisation Journal project on the Knight News Challenge will use  the existing journalism and storytelling work already piloted by the Mobilisation Lab at Greenpeace and scale it more generally for the social change sector.   In other words, they will provide news and information that will help support and strengthen social change campaigners use of technology and networked strategies.

Why I like this idea:

  • There is not a resource that facilitate learning and experimentation from organizations/networks/individuals who want to use networked approaches for social change campaigns – regardless of issue.   This journal provides a way to strengthen practitioners skills and adapt to rapid changes.
  • The journal information will be highly practical but based on research and can be immediately applied.  The potential for a larger feedback loop – of organizations and others using the insights and reporting back what they learn is very exciting.

What do you think?   Add your comments and feedback in the next 8 days here.





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