Internet notebook about my work: deep listening to facilitate positive change


Friday, 25 May 2007

Case study format

Spiranthis spiralis V. In four episodes - between 2 and 7 May - I told the story of the conservation of the threatened species Spiranthis spiralis (to view all episodes: click in the left column under content rubrics on case study). A rather long story, maybe too long, if you do not have much time. And some aspects may not have seemed relevant to you. So, now I just want to summarize the main lessons learned from this case in the box below and illustrate in a nutshell the added value of strategic communication.

For a long time I have been passionately searching for a method to 'prove' the added value of strategic communication. Together with my colleagues Miro Kline and Gwen van Boven we developed a first format for case studies. It was tested in a workshop on biodiversity and CEPA organized by the Spanish Ministry of Environment in collaboration with IUCN (Valsain, 2004). Speakers were asked to organize their CEPA lessons learned by using the format. Our ten-point format proved too complicated.

In my introductory presentation I tried to set the example. But most other speakers just presented their cases by way of telling stories, which were quite different and difficult to compare. In the subsequent IUCN CEC publication Achieving Environmental Objectives, we asked the authors again to use the format. And again this proved rather difficult - the editors did a lot of interviewing to get the cases right and produce the publication as it is now. The format just did not work by itself.

In recent years I have been working from time to time on making the format simpler. The idea is to present a case in a simple box using not more than 150 words. At the same time it should prove how and when positive change is taking off. For me this format is quite helpful. I am curious whether it will be of help to others as well.

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