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From Burning Platform to Building People Power

Jed Miller and I spent a year working with Greenpeace to explore The Mobilisation Lab. What we found was fascinating. Here’s the editorial lead in to the final piece we co-authored:

In a culture of smaller and smaller screens and bigger and bigger threats to democracy, to activism and to the planet, how do longstanding institutions like Greenpeace change their course?

The Mobilisation Lab was born inside Greenpeace, the first and most prominent in a wave of ambitious efforts by the environmental champion to refit itself for 21st century campaigning.

From 2011 to 2016, MobLab worked with Greenpeace’s 27 national offices and international leaders, instilling new approaches to campaign planning, digital strategy and the role of “people-power” in advocacy. And while studies say more than two thirds of organisational change programs fail, MobLab beat the odds and transformed systems and behaviours across dozens of Greenpeace teams.  

As MobLab embarks on its next phase, collaborating not just with Greenpeace but with an expanding network of advocates and activists, we asked two veteran non-profit strategists to dig into the MobLab story, to look for highlights and lessons from our first five years. 

Their findings—based on more than 20 interviews with teammates, senior leaders, former executives and allies outside Greenpeace—are distilled in the following report, “From Burning Platform to Building People-Power.” 

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