How to ignite your campaign using new power

The sheer speed of travel on connectivity has left many in resource-scant civil society bewildered and lacking a strong response. In their New Power book, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans present the core challenge in stark terms – the future will be a battle over mobilisation, a straight choice between love and compassion versus white supremacy and terrorism.

The new power set approach the world differently, pushing back against process and hierarchy.  Innovative disrupters are the new role models.  Feedback and agency are highly prized, and something new power workers have come to expect as a follow-through from their on-line lives. The upshot of this hyper connectedness – and key for campaigners – is our ability to come together and organise ourselves in ways that are geographically boundless and highly distributed.

At the same time, the influential 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer measures significant increased trust in ‘people like me’ over doctors and academics. It’s not that we are no longer interested in mobilising; it’s just that we want to take part in a different way, guided by those in our immediate social sphere.  From Isis to AirBnB, Timms and Heimans develop their thinking on new power through a lively and sometimes provocative series of models powered by mass activity.

The sheer speed of travel on connectivity has left many in resource-scant civil society bewildered and lacking a strong response. In their New Power book, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans present the core challenge in stark terms – the future will be a battle over mobilisation, a straight choice between love and compassion versus white supremacy and terrorism.

Below is a 5-step guide to channeling new power.

Harnessing momentum is a key characteristic
Like water or electricity, new power is energised by the crowd and is most forceful when it surges. The trick is not to hoard it, but to channel it. Sometimes it involves harnessing a storm. Active and peer-driven, it shares, shapes and produces. It is based on short-term affiliation, a belief in radical transportation and informal governance. Think Occupy.

Ideas spread between those who already know and trust each other
Timms and Heimans suggest ideas spread democratically between friends and collaborators, through horizontal person-to-person power. Ideas need to be ACE (actionable, connected and extensible) and take on a momentum of their own. A network of positive messengers emerges, sharing not just counter narratives, but alternative narratives. Think #KeepFamiliesTogether.

People need agency to deepen their involvement Make it as easy as possible for participants to get through the door with simple asks like petition signing (Avaaz are gurus on this) or sharing content  – remember how the Facebook community embraced the Ice Bucket Challenge? To keep participants engaged (and to encourage them to become super-participants), give them agency to produce and upload their own content before becoming a community shaper (or platform owner), at the top of the participation scale. Key at the top is the capacity to influence strategy without having any kind of formal authority. In effect, the barrier between organizer and participant is removed. Think Black Lives Matter.

Connectors are key to building a sense of community
Identifying and cultivating the right connectors is the difference between making new power movements take off or fizzle. Those people who share a worldview (women who consider themselves to be feminists empowered to denounce sexual harassment) are networked to one another and are influential in their own circles. This committed base can be the catalyst for a movement to build. Think #MeToo.

Blended power is the effective marriage of old and new
Instead of seeing new and old power as opposites, canny organisations have found that the combination of the two – blending old and new – can be greater than the sum of the parts. Sometimes a campaign needs to flip its tactics, leading with its old power brand and then encouraging the new power crowd to show up and provide momentum. Think Obama’s US Presidential election campaign.

My favourite quote from this excellent read also serves as a warning:
‘It’s only really a movement if it moves without you’

http://www.kathchristie.co.uk/...