Working with over 50 volunteers to build a participatory vision of a climate positive Scotland
2050 Climate Group
Vision, Workshop Design and Facilitation
Remotely engage the Leaders Network — graduates from 2050 Climate Group’s ‘Young Leaders Development Programme’ — in a participatory visioning project, stimulating the network, building consensus around common goals, and creating assets which can be showcased at public events.
2050 Climate Group is a youth-run and volunteer-led charity empowering young people to take climate action. They run the ‘Young Leaders Development Programme’ (YLDP) that equips young people with the knowledge and skills to enact change. Their Leaders Network is a community of YLDP graduates finding ways to progress the climate debate through their work and life.
2050 Climate Group (2050) approached us as part of our Pro Bono service with a loosely formed idea of how we might work together. Through an initial session we scoped out various challenges they were facing and discussed ways we could work together within the Pro Bono budget.
We discussed with 2050 various ways that we might approach the core challenge of this project — engaging a large number of people remotely, based in different locations, to work together to build a vision that reflected the diverse views in the 200-person strong Leaders Network.
Exploring various analogue and digital engagement approaches, we eventually designed an engagement format on WhatsApp that would challenge groups of participants to respond to various prompts we created.
Responses from all participants were affinity mapped and then synthesised into a vision, which grouped aspirations for Scotland in 2050 under three pillars: sustainable, just, and beyond net-zero. Each pillar included a rationale, a description of what Scotland could look like, and a few practical points around how we might get there.
The final vision was communicated through an illustrated poster and social media tiles for 2050 that could be used in both public-facing and internal contexts.
The engagement needed to be accessible, simple, and remote, yet also be a platform for the participants to provide rich information on the issues they felt strongly about, and the actions they felt should be taken to create a better future. At the time (April 2020) we also had to cater to the rapidly evolving context of the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly issues around ‘Zoom-fatigue.’
We designed the engagement on WhatsApp — a platform already used by the Leaders Network. It ran over 3 weeks with over 50 participants. They were organised into smaller groups and encouraged to collaboratively discuss topics together. Weekly tasks asked participants to respond to prompts using video, audio, text or other media — all of which contributed to different aspects of the final vision.
Stimulating The Leader’s Network
The engagement helped 2050 engage their community of graduates — the Leaders Network — in a highly participatory activity that speaks to the core mission of the charity. The project helped to boost engagement of the Network in 2050’s activities and has been described as a template for potential future engagements.
A Concise, Shareable Vision
The vision was created collaboratively by 2050’s community, and it represents the breadth of perspectives across the Leader’s Network, yet is also a clear, concise, and highly shareable asset that can help to better communicate 2050’s intent. Already, it is being used as a recruitment tool — both helping applicants better understand the charity, while also helping to formulate interview questions.
Vision as a Tool
On handing over the vision, project participants and 2050 team members outlined several ideas around how the vision could be used as a tool internally. These ranged from helping structure a debate series and underpinning masterclass content, to using it as a teaching tool in their Young Leaders Development Programme.