Inspired by a future story
Over the past few months, I’ve been supporting a number of groups around the world to develop their theory of change, or future story, for their campaign.
In both Tajikistan and Ukraine, I’ve been supporting coalitions of parents’ groups initially by providing them with some basic training in campaigning. Once we’d covered the basics, both coalitions were really interested in understanding more about how to develop a theory of change, or as I prefer to call it now, a future story, for their campaign.
Both coalitions said to me that whilst they understood the concept, they were struggling to understand the reality. So, I shared with them the worked through example that I have developed based on my practical experience supporting Roma community groups to develop advocacy campaigns in Bulgaria. See here for more information on this example.
On both occasions, I was somewhat nervous as to whether this example might actually help stimulate their thinking. And on both occasions, I was really delighted to see the avalanche of questions that this example generated, and the beginning of a change of mindset in terms of people beginning to think about how they could construct their own future story.
For me, I really love to see that lightbulb moment, and people begin to realise that it’s not as complicated as they first thought, and that it needs them to show a bit of confidence, reflecting on the realities of their external environment, to construct their future story.
And I am finding myself talking a lot at the moment about the need to show both confidence and humility when building a future story for your campaign. You need to have the initial confidence to write your initial future story down on paper, but you also then need to have the humility to invite challenging questions in the knowledge that this challenge will strengthen your thinking.
So with my work in both of these countries, now having introduced the concept of campaigning and the practicality of a future story, it is going to be really exciting to see how they begin to construct their own future story based on their own reality to help them to begin to bring about the change they want to see.