around the world   populism   is on the rise,   but civil society   organisations   are responding   with innovation. 

populism   and innovation 

The rise of populism creates new contexts, challenges and opportunities for the work of civil society organizations (CSOs). They are responding to these challenges with different strategies, novel ideas and approaches, and adaptive learning processes. Digital technology is playing a strong enabling role in the growth of populism but also in this CSO innovation. We have gathered a selection of case studies from CSOs who are responding to populism through three key forms of innovation: core innovation, adjacent innovation, and transformational innovation.

    strategies   highlighted   in this report 

  1. creating alternative digital youth-led spaces
  2. building citizen skills to combat misinformation and fake news
  3. using new digital tools and tactics to speak to all sections of society
  4. developing new positive narratives for an alternative future
  5. inclusive communications and social listening in divided contexts
  6. strengthening civil society solidarity and resilience networks
  7. renewing trust from the roots up through a new concept of accountability


adjacent  innovation 

either using new or evolving and adapting existing assets, tools and tactics, to engage either important primary or secondary audiences (directly or indirectly), OR both/all of these.

transparenCEE

Organisation

TechSoup, ePaństwo Foundation, K-Monitor, ActionSEE and Opora

Location

Central/Eastern Europe and Eurasia

Theme

Building citizen skills to combat misinformation and fake news.

Summary

Facilitating cross-border experimentation and learning communities of enterprising civic technologists can lower barriers to deploying and scaling technologies, increase reach and deepen the impact of their innovations.

shift

Organisation

Save the Children

Location

Myanmar

Theme

Creating alternative digital youth-led spaces.

Summary

This initiative borrows and implements concepts from corporate start-up culture — a campaign incubator and accelerator model — to both invest in and scale small ideas from local youth actors, and build their skillsets and agency.

The Together Project

Organisation

InterAction

Location

USA

Theme

Strengthening civil society solidarity and resilience networks.

Summary

An advocacy hub engaging new allies beyond the sector and operating as a network to mobilise the grassroots solidarity and support of civil society partners in response to politically-targeted discrimination and disinformation.

inclusive communications strategy

Organisation

Greenpeace Magyarország

Location

Hungary

Theme

Inclusive communications and social listening in divided contexts.

Summary

International civil society organisations (CSOs) can creatively reach new domestic audiences with positive messages about the value they deliver for them and society, even in a deeply divided context.

new narratives for human rights

Organisation

Amnesty International

Location

Global

Theme

Developing new positive narratives for an alternative future.

Summary

Using social media as a cost-effective way of testing new narratives and telling new stories — about what and who human rights are for — in different countries.

Voices of Inclusion

Organisation

ARTICLE19

Location

Myanmar and Malaysia

Theme

Inclusive communications and social listening in divided contexts.

Summary

A multi-faceted initiative to counter hate speech and intolerance, funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It builds from social listening and research to understand the root causes of hate speech and intolerance in order to design appropriate advocacy and training initiatives.


transformational  innovation 

creating brand new assets, tools and tactics to engage brand new public audiences who have not been reached before.

citizens' voice

Organisation

RNW Media

Location

Burundi

Theme

Creating alternative digital youth-led spaces.

Summary

This project provides the structure and creative framework, tools and tactics to engage young people at scale with complex and sensitive content, and builds inclusive and plural dialogues and positive discourse online and offline.

Operation Libero

Organisation

Operation Libero

Location

Switzerland

Theme

Using new digital tools and tactics to speak to all sections of society.

Summary

This movement has creatively reframed public discourse by skillfully turning the spaces, tools and rhetoric used by populists on their heads to reach broad audiences through emotional, simple and accessible imagery, messages and concepts.

hope-based communications

Organisation

Amnesty International | Hope-Based Communications (and others)

Location

Global

Theme

Developing new positive narratives for an alternative future.

Summary

Focusing messaging on values, and avoiding reacting to and feeding populist narratives, can engage new audiences with a positive vision of the future as a constructive alternative to fear, crisis and division.

whatsapp for lgbt+ rights

Organisation

All Out

Location

Brazil

Theme

Using new digital tools and tactics to speak to all sections of society.

Summary

Experimentation with new tools, tactics and partnerships to engage and motivate new supporters for LGBT+ rights under attack in Brazil.

learn to discern

Organisation

IREX

Location

Ukraine

Theme

Building citizen skills to combat misinformation and fake news.

Summary

This project exhibits creative combinations of tools, tactics and novel approaches to scaling training in order to develop long-term changes in critical thinking skills among brand new public audiences (within a relatively short space of time).

Download the Report

published october 2019

Innovation Report     2019

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