Advocating for Deep Listening With Decision-makers

Greenpeace Philippines piloted a new way to simultaneously engage with both local government decision makers and disengaged young people in the Barangay ward of Metro Manila. They employed deep listening and conversation tools to help build up collective agency and stronger relationships between these two crucial stakeholders.

Tags: Emotions, Conversation Engagement, Advocacy | Country: Philippines

The Challenge

Greenpeace Philippines faced some major challenges in engaging with decision-makers – they realized their traditional approach was confrontational, leading to even more defensiveness and being in opposition to the Filipino cultural value system. Meanwhile, the traditional and hierarchical nature of local government was leaving young voters to feeling underrepresented and disengaged.

The Aim

To use sensing and deep listening to understand the factors that shape the mindsets of local government and youth council leaders.

To co-create projects and platforms with community and youth leaders alongside the local government that is outside of their traditional circle of influence.

To help local decision-makers recognize the important role of youth-led organizations and citizen participation in local affairs.

The Solution

Mindworks’ Insights

Key Mindset Factors: Emotions, Social Norms

Authentic conversations: Conversations are crucial to not only encouraging dialogue, understanding, but also creating greater agency. They can help break down the defensive walls while reducing polarization and othering and cultivating compassion and empathy.

Equally if we can acknowledge decision-makers as individuals with feelings and emotions, it can bridge the gap and create greater connections.

Mindworks brought its research and insights on lessons learned from other practitioners regarding creating authentic deeper conversations with decision-makers, its theory and practice on understanding mindset factors and conversations to help design an overall conversation arc.

The small group conversation flow and tactics were then codesigned with local facilitators experienced using Theory U social change methodologies and tools. The conversation format developed ran over July and August 2021

“Our assumptions about the motivations of decision makers were challenged and for some people shifted completely”

- Campaigner, Greenpeace Philippines

The Impact

Greenpeace campaigners noted an increased engagement of both local government officials and youth leaders, culminating in a citizens’ assembly. Decision makers showed a much higher level of interest and even shared that they learned a lot about their peers through these conversations. Several new insights were gathered, providing the crucial first set of mindset factors for future engagement with decision-makers and youth.

The Future

The team prepared to repeat the decision-maker engagement format in other city councils in Metro Manila and the pilot was transformed into a full-fledged project in which Greenpeace focused on the shift in the city systems through changes in mindsets.