Read more: Learn more about the Transition phase of a crisis in The Disrupted Mind Part 2: The Crisis Timeline.
Make people aware of the transition
Ask people to reflect on this transition and what from their newly-learned experiences, emotions, narratives or values they would like to keep or what of the old ones they would like to let go of. You can also create clear moments of reflection about the change like an anniversary or the end of a crisis. Use any possible opportunity to remind people to make deliberate choices and not just fall back to the old normal. As an example, after the first Covid-19 lockdown, Greenpeace Germany asked their supporters to write an email to themselves reflecting on what they wanted to start doing again, what they did not want to start again and what new things they learnt in the lockdown and wanted to continue. Greenpeace then sent these letters back to the people a few weeks later.
Whatever you did to normalise the mindset or mindset factors during the crisis should start to pay off. Your job now is to make it clear that what was considered normal in the crisis is also normal in the transition and beyond. Any normative campaigning during the transition period should use similar tools as described before (See recommendation 5):
- Create defining moments experiences that prove the mindset you want to propose is still commonly held in post-crisis times. For example, a sense of community and neighbourhood.
- Continue dynamic normative messaging. Show your target audiences that, for more and more people, certain narratives, norms or emotions have become totally normal. Avoid explaining why they do it, as reasons can be different for different people.
- Continue conversations with your audiences to understand what they are thinking in this period. Also try to find out what drives them to maintain the mindset factors you identified (norms, narratives, emotions, identities etc) or indeed any barriers they might be facing.
- Continue to facilitate negotiations in communities or within your key audience about what should become the new normal, following the guidelines of Recommendation 6.
- Make old norms, narratives and behaviours look outdated. Constantly advocating a specific change can often create a condescending tone and adverse effects on the change you want to see. Diminishing the role of the old normal can also be a tactic.
Monitor negative mindset shifts and design counter strategies.
You are not the only player and adversaries can create counter-narratives. As the public debate has at least partially moved into social media spaces, new monitoring tools are necessary to detect trolling and fake news. It might be as important to counter negative mindset changes (like fear-driven deterioration of human rights and Xenophobia in the US after 9/11) as to focus on creating positive change.
Defining Moments Tool
The Mindworks guide to understanding and crafting ‘defining moments’ which can impact the way we think and behave.Learn more →
Letter to your future self
A digital engagement tool inviting people to send a letter to themselves to strengthen the perception of defining moments in crises.Learn more →
The collapse of the American Dream
The 2008 financial crisis profoundly damaged the narrative of the American Dream, that “everyone who works hard enough can become rich and successful”. During the crisis, the rich got richer and were bailed out by the government while the rest of society had to carry the burden. A few years later during the 2011 Occupy Movement a strong alternative narrative emerged and it stuck – the “we are the 99%”, in opposition to the nation’s wealthiest 1%. Being able to identify early on a declining counter-mindset, such as the American Dream in this case, can help to bring your story home.Learn more ->
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