• Macongame Thumb 640

    Can “Reading” An Evaluation Be Fun? It Should Be.

    Guest Post: R. Christine Hershey

    In an increasingly visual culture, the old ways of communicating lessons learned are startlingly out of touch with how we want and expect to get information. That’s why  the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation decided to try a new approach to sharing lessons they were learning from the evaluation of two social impact games.  One game, Battlestorm, was a youth-based game to improve hurricane preparation awareness and habits on the Gulf Coast. The other, Macon Money, used an alternative form of local currency to connect residents to each other and to attract and expose people to local businesses in Macon, Georgia.  For both evaluations, the foundation wanted to communicate its findings in ways that were just as appealing, interactive, and forward-thinking as the games themselves.

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    “Reel Change” Series is Real Impressive

    Early into the film, “Who We Are Now – Joplin One Year Later,” it suddenly hits you. The people who you see on screen and who you first might think are “just like us” — are anything but. Instead they are survivors of a catastrophic tornado that hit this Missouri community in 2011, and whose stories are both an inspiration and a further call to action.

    Produced by the Missouri Foundation for Health’s communications department, the film is the first in its 2012 “Reel Change” series, created to showcase its work to support the health and well-being of people throughout the state. As part of that effort, “Who Are We Now” shows how the foundation has been helping organizations and health providers work together to build a healthier community.

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  • Story Net

    How to Gather Stories

    (This is cross-posted from the July 12th edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review, where it originally appeared.)

    Guest Post: Thaler Pekar

    I frequently write about the communicative power of story, and the insights that organizations can glean from listening to story and exploring narrative. But what is a real story, and how do you go about gathering some?

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  • Ford Foundation

    Change By Design

    I didn’t get into the Communication field because I’m a numbers person.  Words are my tools, not pixels or bytes or zeros and ones.  Pie charts are interesting – when someone else explains them.  Even spreadsheets make me uneasy.  I’d rather write a narrative. But the Ford Foundation’s Change By Design conference I attended in New York City in late June may well have been a game-changer for me. For the first time I could really see how facts and figures – when put into the hands of designers, researchers, artists and statisticians– can pack a dramatic punch large enough to have a room full of foundation veterans oohhing and aahhing.

    The event featured leaders in the fields of design, social innovation, art, and journalism, all of whom are thinking creatively about digital storytelling.  During the day-long event presenters shared case studies on topics ranging from experiential data visualization to data for news reporting to collaborative mapping.  It was a day of inspiration more than it was a day of skill-building. It was a profound shift in your thinking kind of day.  I left feeling like I’d seen the future of social change. And the future, let me just say, is information design.

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  • Screen Shot 2012 07 02 At 11.37.51 AM

    Welcome to the Message House

    Do you sometimes find creating compelling messages a challenging chore? Or how about the challenge of creating messages for colleagues and then getting them to use them as intended?

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