Following our awe-inspiring kickoff plenary is our second plenary of the day- focused on metaphors and unlocking the communicative power of social innovators. To successfully turn our ideas into fruition, as social innovators we need to master the skill of communication- and reshape the public perception of real progress. Alan Jenkins, of Opportunity Agenda, and George Lakoff, of the University of California, led a discussion on the value of communication, and it’s purpose in the social entrepreneurial space. Stay up to date on all of our discussions via our live stream.
For George this boiled down to the conceptualization of world views. “We all think in terms of world views, and right now this country is divided between two very different world views,” he explained of the current political and social climate. He went on to define the conceptual understanding of conservatism as it relates to morality, ethics, and culture. Before signing off, George left us on a positive note, “Thank you for caring about all the things you care about.”
Alan, on the other hand, focused on the various methodologies in which social innovators are communicating- both efficiently and inefficiently. He began by outlining four types of communication: branding, campaign, crisis, and long term. The fourth and final category, long term movement of hearts and minds, is the most important. “If you get that right, all the rest falls in line,” he said. Emphasizing the importance of communication, Alan circled back to the value of creating a narrative- something he believes sits at the core of social impact work. “It’s the kind we do the least of, and yet it’s the most important,” he added, highlighting an area for potential improvement. Narrative, which he defined as a story told over and over again, is rooted in shared values, which social innovators need to better communicate. Through the seven lessons Alan outlined, leading with shared values, telling a systemic story, considering social math, emphasizing solutions, breaking negative stereotypes, promoting a positive role for government, and avoiding myth busting, he left the group with various skills we all need to utilize to better make our impact.