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


Tuesday 29 March 2011

CEPA case study format

Think how users of the toolkit will look for case studies and for learning. In my experience they will search CEPA stories on conservation issues they are currently dealing with: e.g. coral reef CEPA stories, water CEPA stouries, tourism, etc. Formulate those categories and ask for stories about them. Ask for stories of say 500 words, that make clear: 1. the context (the place in nature where the conservation issue occurred and the underlying causes); 2. the players (who had to change in attitudes and behavior); 3. the interventions (what kind of messages and communication methods were used – next to other interventions); 4. the turning point (when change really started to take off – this is where peer learning occurs); 5. the impact (how in the end the realized positive change looked like for nature, for the people involved and for the organizations involved).

Monday 28 March 2011

Stairs vs. Escalator - How CLEVER is this!!!!‏

Neuro marketing - where brain science and marketing meet. It seems we have no control over many of our decisions. We buy things on impuls: neurologists have found that seconds before we buy something, somewhere in our brain the decision is already taken. Timing of offers also influences our behavior. Fun can change it, as the video illustrates. Read more.

Friday 25 March 2011

Effective interviews

The semi-structured interview to articulate stakeholder views has four parts. In the introduction we tell shortly why we are doing the interview. In the second part we - shortly - aim to get acquainted with the respondent. It provides him or her with an opportunity to position her/himself vis-a-vis our enquiry. It gives us the chance to express our respect for their work, responsibilities and experience. In the third part we collect information. Prepare in advance the (maximum ten) themes you want to ask (open) questions about. Open questions start with: ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘who’, how’. The answers received are followed by us encouraging them to tell more, e.g. by asking: “Can you give an example?”, “Can you explain?”, “What makes you say that?” etc. A theme can be closed by asking: “Do I understand you well that … (summary of answer)? Opninions can be cecked by: “Do I hear you say … (repeat your interpretation)?” We take notes of what they literally say. Afterwards we assemble the key words of their answers in an excell interview worksheet. This way we can compare with the answers of others. We end the interview with thanks, what will happen next, how they will be informed of the results and can comment on our draft report.

Thursday 17 March 2011

Communication basics in 3 steps

Improving your communication starts with learning how to position your organization. The first step was a two hour session with the leadership of the organization. We discussed in pairs and plenary the following questions: who are you? why do you exist? what is your dream? who has to change? What is the message? It gave them a new perspective on the role of communication. They then wrote a first positioning statement. In a second one hour session they recognized it was too long and too much jargon for a positioning statement. They felt they needed more information. We are now at step three: diving deeper into positioning and branding. They are answering the usual list of questions (see illustration), adapted to the NGO situation.

Monday 7 March 2011

The Bill - short film - Germanwatch

Humor can help to convey a message. This is German humor on who pays the climate change bill. Mit Essen spielt man nicht (You do not play with food) is an even shorter other German fun video on CC. The video was made to raise awareness for the CC COP in Copenhagen, in 2009, but its message is still valid.

Friday 4 March 2011


Creating spaces for exchange of ideas is a basis for innovation. Connecting our hunches with those of other people and suddenly seeing that a new idea emerges. That is why just presentations during conferences don't really communicate, while working in groups does.

Thursday 3 March 2011

Measuring biodiversity awareness

Awareness is important for the broad acceptance and support in society for NBSAPs and other biodiversity conservation and sustainable development interventions. There is a difference between awareness (knowledge of specific biodiversity content areas), attitudes (values towards biodiversity) and behaviour (habits, practices and activities impacting on biodiversity). To measure it adequately, awareness has to be defined: awareness of the word biodiversity, of the scientific meaning of biodiversity, of the importance of species, of ecosystems, of ecosystem services, of ABS, of the current rate of extinction, of biodiversity’s life support role? All of these? Others? It is also important to define the audience (e.g. general public, youth, business, consumers, policy makers). Finally it is important to note that paradigms and perspectives on biodiversity are very different between countries. This may also differ between urbanised and rural countries/regions. The matrix provides a first indication of what is needed to track awareness of biodiversity values. In red are those observation sets that have a high priority, either due to the relative ease with which they can be measured or due to the close links to positive biodiversity outcomes. In yellow are observation sets that have a very low priority, because of difficulties to get the data and or the indirect links to positive biodiversity outcomes.

Some of the needed data exist in a number of countries, but they are not standardised or harmonised. Attitudes and awareness of ecosystem services and the relationship to biodiversity and human well-being are not known at all. In general baseline data is needed for all of this. There is no global baseline yet nor a global repository for the data. The EC has set up a regional baseline, which could be the basis for additional global work. For each observation set a body can be identified and made responsible. This target differs from many other targets in this document in its reliance on social data, so the body tasked with coordination needs to ensure it has the required capacities in this area. To make data globally relevant and comparable across cultural and language differences, careful thought will be needed with advice and input from a wide range of communication experts from CBD member states. The IUCN Commission on Education and Communication is an expert network that could be tapped into for advice.

The data are adequate in a relative sense and for some regions, e.g. trending EC questionnaires. The data are inadequate in an absolute sense, e.g. global attitude to biodiversity. Fine scale, detailed and well designed surveys of awareness of specific issues would be ideal . These have however their price tag and need time for preparation and coordination to be carried at the global scale.

So far our group work in the GEO BON workshop on indicators for the targets of the CBD strategic plan. It now will be peer reviewed.