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


Friday 30 March 2012

Protected area communication

Communication can be a waste of money. I saw this poster of African Parks on Schiphol airport. The pictures of species attract attention, thats good. The text is in Dutch and asks for support, but the telephone number is in South Africa - no country code. And the web address is difficult to remember when you go down the escalator. In other words: what is the point?

Thursday 29 March 2012

War on science

Research on climate change or on endangered species or on the safety of certain energy strategies is seen as bolstering an argument for regulation – so science is associated with imposing rules on businesses. This is one of the conclusions of a study by Gordon Gauchat: just over 34 percent of conservatives had confidence in science as an institution in 2010, representing a long-term decline from 48 percent in 1974, according to his paper being published today in American Sociological Review. This is not a good sign for those of us who like evidence-based decision making. And it is a an extra challenge for communicators.

Monday 26 March 2012

To be able to communicate strategically behaviour of target groups should be described in very concrete and simple actions they take or can take. It is not helpful to describe the impact of current or desired behaviour, e.g. economic development in important breeding grounds. Current behaviour of decision makers has to be described in terms of agenda and priority setting, public statements, formulation of tasks for civil servants etc. The communication objectives are focused on those changes. Communication objectives are not the same as management objectives.

Friday 16 March 2012

The universe in a single atom

A compelling narrative about how we all are part of nature and nature is part of us. On his blog Applicable Knowledge on One Slide, Digital Marketing Explorer George Strakhov shares insights he gained in his work. I had missed the one on attitude to nature. The quote from physicist Richard Feynman comes from Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character). It is a good addition to other posts on branding biodiversity. It even could be the basis for a powerful short movie to be used to implement worldwide target 1 of the CBD strategic plan.

Monday 12 March 2012

Communication strategy

One of the goals of the public awareness campaign Mother Sundarbans is to reduce the number of killings of stray tigers. The strategy has segmented the audiences. Young villagers are an important target audience. Based on my limited knowledge of the situation, I make the following assumptions about current and desired behavior behaviour and attitudes and dream up the first elements of a subcampaign directed towards young men: "Become a fan, friend or member of a local tiger team." Now the challenge is to be also more concrete about the other campaign goals (deer meat poaching and consumption) and other audiences audiences (women, youth, etc.).

Saturday 10 March 2012

Dreaming biodiversity

Duke John and duchess Jacoba during a fishing party closeby their castle in The Hague. From my perspective it looks like Jan van Eyck tries to raise our awareness of biodiversity. "We all are part of nature: the air we breath, the water we drink, the fish and fruits we eat. Our diet depends mainly on the plants and animals around us. Same for our buildings and clothes. Trade provides variety, but trade is helped by horses, wind and sea. And against the dangers of the sea, we have the forested dunes around us." Had van Eyck known the concepts of bacteria, chemicals, cells and atoms, he would have alluded to this level in which our body is connected to the wider natural system of the world. I dream that the message of this drawing is: “You may take biodiversity for granted, and it is so obviously all around you, that it is easy to forget it’s there - that you are a part of it and can’t live apart from it.“

Friday 9 March 2012

Frappez toujours

A message has to be repeated often enough to have the desired effect. "Jan van Eyck back in The Hague", was the small advertizement in the newspaper this morning. A few weeks ago I had read an article about the exposition. My interest was raised, but somehow I forgot all about it. This morning I saw this weekend would be the last opportunity. So I combined a visit to the museum with an appointment I had in The Hague. Grateful to the museum and the principle of `frappez toujours`, I thoroughly enjoyed the famous drawing with the ´Ridderzaal´ in the background. Below is a photo of the present situation.

Thursday 8 March 2012

Framing current and desired attitudes

When framing the attitudes we want to change we should put ourselves in the shoes of our audience. So we should go beyond defining the current attitude as a certain bird species is not important and the desired attitude as that bird species is a unique heritage and has a potential for tourism. We should really look into the psyche of the decision maker. This will help to better prepare our communication interventions to support change.