Using diverse perspectives to make progress, faster

Why collaborating across borders is better

We are all experiencing climate change differently. We know this. But immersed in our own worlds, we don’t always take the time to appreciate it. What’s important to me might not even be relevant to you. Different people from different places bring their own lived experiences and perspectives, their own day to day routines, their own hopes and fears for the future. 

Cultural context is everything. And a London bubble is a dangerous thing. This was top in our minds when The DO School asked us to help them find bright young talent for BeVisioneers in India, South Africa and Europe. 

BeVisioneers is a global fellowship programme, supported by Mercedes Benz, that helps 16-28 year olds turn their planet-positive ideas into real projects with real impact. It’s the beginning of an ambitious programme to build an international network of 10,000 young doers by 2030, with a strong mentoring, financial and networking component. 

But how do you relate to a global audience when you don’t have the resources to luxuriate in formal research and targeted content for each region? One way is to build a team with people from the places you want to reach. Baking in local insights from the start. And keeping those voices with you to the end.

So we convened an internationally representative team of expert partners from across the key regions: youth network specialists from Yuvaa in India, creative directors from Lampost Productions in South Africa, and social media planners from Populate Social in Europe. Their local insights and comms expertise meant we could make progress faster. 

We’ve now successfully launched a global campaign together. Getting an opportunity out into the world which could be the realisation of a dream for so many young people who are experiencing the fallout of climate change, and are determined to do something about it.

Good collaboration might not always be easy but it leads to totally better outcomes - and it’s more fun. Lived experience gives you insight that you can’t always get from a research paper, it helps make your work more authentic and effective. Diversity of voices is a critical part of the process, not a box to be ticked.

Top tips and reflections on leading a diverse collaboration:

Give everyone their space - each partner should have defined responsibilities that match the project aims, a seat at the table with the client, respect and encouragement

Hold the silence - in the excited rush and splurge of ideas and opinions, make time to pause: encourage quiet voices and different perspectives, let it all sink-in, re-evaluate and then move forward

Keep all eyes on the prize - explore options and ask questions, but also keep the team focused on the end goal and a shared understanding of what is priority. Make sure you clarify any ambiguity that arises along the way.