Diverse guidance exists on how to best design and use a TOC. In this curriculum (Theory of Change: Facilitator’s Guide and all accompanying materials), we present one method that does its best to align to the requirements of creating a development hypothesis for Development Food Security Activities (DFSA) funded by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP). Previous experience in program and TOC development, participant feedback from six years of TOPS workshops, and input from the FFP Monitoring and Evaluation Team all helped craft this curriculum. We update it each year to align to the most current FFP guidance for DFSA implementers and to share newly discovered training tips.
Aspirational Communication, an approach that seeks to motivate and mobilize people to support a cause by connecting it to the audience’s aspirations for their own lives. I specifically suggest a six-step framework based on the approach that can help social movements to drive durable attitude change.
Released in March as part of FrameWorks Institute’s 20th anniversary, the Explanation Declaration asks communicators to help people understand the “how” behind issues and see that how as a critical part of engaging and empowering people to take action.
Context analysis helps you to understand the elements of an environment and
a group of potential users so that you can design a better technology project. It
should involve key stakeholders, including implementing partners, donors, local and
national authorities, and community members.
We suggest five key lines of inquiry that context analyses should consider:
People: Levels of education and literacy, information habits and needs, access to
disposable income for equipment, electrical power to charge devices, and airtime
and data to run them, and network access;
Community: How membership of specific groups may affect access to technology
and communications habits. For example, a nomadic clan may have attributable
characteristics shared by its members, and variations in levels of access and
freedom within the clan differentiated by gender and age.
Market environment: An understanding of the key players, legal and regulatory
issues, the mobile market, including both cost and distribution of agent networks,
and the infrastructure, including commercial mobile infrastructure such as the
availability of short-codes and APIs are all critical to making good design decisions.
Political environment: understanding governance and control of, and access to,
communications infrastructure by government and other actors
Implementing organization: Many interventions have failed because staff were not
able to maintain technology, because power or access to internet were not strong
enough, because staff capacity was low or went away, or because the intervention
was not supported by a broader culture of innovation and adaptive learning.
News media often frame refugees as a burden or threat to a community, where humanitarian stories often frame refugees as helpless people in a far-off land in need of help. Both narratives — while sympathetic — consistently situate refugees as outsiders. Our job as communicators is to shift the narrative from “us” and “them” to “we.”
Government and environmentalists need to understand this. To achieve change, you needn’t legislate so everyone adopts new behaviours simultaneously: you simply need to ensure every desirable new behaviour (veganism, installing solar panels, not flying when you can travel by train) reaches that level where it no longer looks weird. If just 10 per cent of attendees refuse to fly to a meeting, it becomes essential to offer videoconferencing, at which point a further 10 per cent will opt to attend the meeting remotely. If 10 per cent start taking trains to Frankfurt, it will pay to launch a European sleeper train service, at which point another 10 per cent will take the train. Once someone on your street has solar panels, you’ll feel happier installing your own.
The biggest single influence on whether people drink Guinness in a pub is whether there is already someone in the pub drinking Guinness. A lot of socially beneficial behaviours work the same way. It’s not that we don’t want to do them — we do. We just don’t want to be the weirdo who does it first.
Addressing massive challenges like climate change and poverty requires that we take a long-term view and have a preventative mindset. Since these perspectives challenge the deeply ingrained ways we have evolved to think and behave, we need to pay attention to why prevention is hard to think about and navigate the cognitive road blocks that stand in the way of progress. By presenting issues and information in ways that unlock support for preventative approaches, we can galvanize the ideas and actions social and environmental change requires.
Transformation sounds impressive, glamorous even, but what does it actually mean?
After six years of leading transformation in government, this is my attempt to explain what it is, what it’s not, and how to spot the difference.
It’s always good to start with a definition, and Cambridge Dictionary offers this one: ‘transformation: a complete change in the appearance or character of something… especially so that thing is improved’.
This gives us some clues, but it’s not nearly complete.
So with the help of my Twitter community, here’s 6 characteristics of what transformation is, and what it is not.
Benioff and Weiss steer the narrative lane away from the sociological and shifted to the psychological. That’s the main, and often only, way Hollywood and most television writers tell stories.
This is an important shift to dissect because whether we tell our stories primarily from a sociological or psychological point of view has great consequences for how we deal with our world and the problems we encounter.
This toolkit will show you how to design and strategise for impact in your progressive social change initiatives. It is designed for documentary or journalist video-makers, established Video for Change organisations, and nonprofit organisations that are using or thinking about using video to engage their communities.
EngageMedia has produced this toolkit in partnership with the Video4Change Network. We are a group of video-makers — activists, journalists, documentary filmmakers, and human rights advocates — who have pooled our experience and knowledge to share tips, tools and resources on how to safely and effectively create powerful videos and engage audiences for changemaking.
Why co-create and why now? Collective Wisdom is a first-of-its-kind field study of the media industry, that maps works that live outside the limits of singular authorship. While the concept of co-creation is entering the zeitgeist, it is an ancient and under-reported dynamic. Media co-creation has particular relevance in the face of today’s myriad of challenges, such as the climate crisis and threats to democracy. But it is not without risks and complications. In this study we look at how people co-create within communities; across disciplines; and increasingly, with living systems and artificial intelligence (AI). We also synthesize the risks, as well as the practical lessons from the field on how to co-create with an ethos grounded in principles of equity and justice. This qualitative study reframes how culture is produced, and is a first step in articulating contemporary co-creative practices and ethics. In doing so, it connects unusual dots.
Especially striking was something that I was not surprised by but had never heard explained before: the idea that groups conform, but always in a specific direction. They always become more extreme. They never move towards the middle. Sunstein addresses the phenomenon by describing relevant research. He writes:
The effect of group deliberation was to shift individual opinions toward extremism. Group “verdicts” on climate change, affirmative action, and same-sex unions were more extreme than the predeliberation average of group members. In addition, the anonymous views of individual members became more extreme, after deliberation, than were their anonymous views before they started to talk.
We see this phenomenon everywhere, especially social media, but the simple principle of conformity by itself doesn’t explain it. If a group conforms over time, shouldn’t their new views converge on the original group mean? Wouldn’t people’s views be just as likely to become more moderate than more extreme? The answer, of course, is no. Why? Because someone with more extreme views is usually more outspoken or passionate about those views, and that looks to most people like confidence. And we tend to conform to the views of those who seem more confident. Maybe Facebook isn’t the best place to form our political opinions.
"My little pitch is that a social movement worth celebrating doesn't only un-falsify people's preferences and unleash them to say what they actually think. It also casts a fresh light on the past. It doesn't just elicit preexisting judgement, it produces new ones."
The Cultural Web is a tool used to map the culture of an organisation and is a
way of seeing and understating the different influences that affect organisational
culture. It can be used to map existing culture and it can also used to map future
culture based on the question: ‘What does the culture need to look like to make
this change happen’? The two maps can then be compared in order to promote
discussion and highlight what, where and how change can be implemented.
Theory of Change Online (TOCO) is the only web-based software (no download required) that you can use to design and edit and store your Theory of Change, learn the concepts of theory of change, and capture your outcomes, indicators, rationales and assumptions in an interactive graphical environment.
A new study published in Science has quantified the number of people who need to take a stand before they can affect societal change on important topics like sexual harassment and human rights.
And that number? It’s a mere 25% of any group. Only 25% of people need to adopt a new social norm to create an inflection point where everyone in the group follows.