“Mere facts are not enough to inspire others to action.” – Alan Kantrow

People inspire others to action. More specifically, the right people inspire others to action, and identifying, understanding, and collaborating with the right people is crucial to the success of all social change.

In the case of our labs, the right people are the individuals of influence who can either support or prevent each labs’ work in any number of ways as it moves forward. In order to optimize the impact these individuals can have, it’s important to have a deepened understanding of who they are and why they care about the things they do.

On January 25, our lab teams gathered at the Venn Centre in Moncton for NouLAB’s sixth workshop, Constituency Mapping. With the guidance of Alan Kantrow, the teams identified some of these individuals of influence and set out to learn more about them.

Teams were asked to answer the following questions:

·      What constituents have a stake in the outcome of your work?

·      What is it that you seek from them?

·      What values do they hold?

·      How might you reach them?

·      What are the risks in reaching out?

As the teams responded to these questions, the complexity and scale of their challenges became apparent, but it also became clear just how many people are invested in the outcome of these seven problems. Understanding how to work with these people is an essential element of the lab process.

Finding common ground with those who impact your work plays a major role in how successful your work will be, how quick you’ll get it done, and how much effort will be required to achieve your goals.

Sometimes facts alone won’t drive people to act. There are cultures, beliefs, and vested interests that influence the behaviour of others. In order to inspire others to work with us, we need to understand more than the facts. We need to understand them.