Conversations / Social Norms

Rethinking Conversations with Decision Makers

An innovative approach to engaging with local decision-makers in the context of sustainability and community empowerment.

The Project:

The project aimed to shift urban narratives and mindsets towards sustainability by empowering youth-led initiatives and fostering collaboration between local authorities and community groups in Metro Manila, the key political and economic centre of the Philippines. The project sought to build trust, understand stakeholders’ perspectives, and co-create solutions for more liveable and sustainable cities through innovative dialogue formats and deep listening approaches.

Our Approach:

The project implemented an innovative approach to dialogue and engagement with local decision-makers, focusing on shifting urban narratives towards sustainability in Metro Manila. This approach incorporated deep listening techniques, Theory U methodologies, and culturally sensitive dialogue formats to create a safe, authentic space for meaningful conversation. Pre-sensing interviews provided insights into stakeholders’ mindsets, while small group sessions encouraged trust-building and reflection. Ongoing reflection and learning facilitated the iterative adaptation of the approach, fostering collaboration and co-creating solutions for more liveable and sustainable cities.

“From a campaigning point of view, I tend to look at policymakers as targets in terms of creating systemic changes through enactment of policies and legislations and I approach them in a way that is very formal and transactional. This method of deep-dive listening and understanding them based on their cognitive and mindsets made me see through a dimension where we can find unity in diversity of worldviews which leads me to engage policymakers better: It’s a skill that every campaigner should have, I believe”

Rhea Jane Pescador-Mallari, Liveable and Sustainable Cities Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia - Philippines

Our Results:

Positive perception of conversation format by campaigners and barangay participants despite time limitations

Prolonged engagement of decision-maker participants indicating genuine interest

Requests for further sessions from decision-makers highlight perceived value

A Project Overview:

Tags: Emotions, Climate

July – August 2021

Metro Manila, Philippines

Deep listening, Theory U methodology, and culturally sensitive dialogues


Greenpeace Philippines

Tool Used: 

A few case studies

Rethinking Conversations with Decision Makers

From Climate Anxiety to Action