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Collectively Review 2014-2016: making sustainable ways of living the new normal


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In October 2014, Collectively ( was born. Our aim was to engage young people around the world in sustainable ways of living and consuming, through the power of compelling content and collaborative action.

Sponsored by more than thirty of the world's leading multinational companies, and with a powerful and passionate network of NGO collaborators and changemakers, over the last two years we've learnt a lot about great sustainability storytelling; collaboration; and giving the next generation the opportunity and inspiration to drive change.

This is a review of what we've done, what we've achieved and what we've learnt - so far. If you've got feedback, let us know:

Published in: Environment
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Collectively Review 2014-2016: making sustainable ways of living the new normal

  1. 1. Making sustainable ways of living the new normal What we did and what we learnt 2014-2016
  2. 2. Authorship & Approach Inputs to this report have included: interviews with partners and community members; interviews with members of the Collectively Team and the Board; learnings reports for specific Collectively activities; and input from our digital community. Various team members have penned different sections. The Collectively Team would like to express thanks to Zahra Davidson for wrestling down all the inputs and pulling it all together. Mainstreaming Sustainable Living Big environmental, social and economic challenges surround us. Even if we’re fortunate enough not to directly feel the impact in our lives, our news feeds are filled with gloomy facts and stats. We wonder who’s responsible, and we ask who’s going to sort it all out before it’s too late. This was the context for a working session of the Consumer Industries Board at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2013. The question at hand: ‘how can companies engage consumers to trigger simple behavioural shifts that enable more sustainable lifestyles, grow demand for more sustainable products and create business value?’ At the heart of this debate was the idea that if we want a sustainable world, we’re going to have to live and consume very differently - and the only way of making this happen is for big brands to take some responsibility and for citizens/consumers to respond in kind (or vice versa). So we formed Collectively. Here are some of the highlights of our last two years: 35 of the world’s leading corporates agreed to collaborate, not compete, to make sustainable living the new normal. We brought senior leaders, millennial employees and influencers together to explore shared ideas to make sustainable ways of living mainstream. Over 2 years more than 2,000 stories were shared, along with 30 short films, 1 tentpole documentary, and 4 podcasts - changing the conversation about sustainable ways of living. 2.5m people visited and over 150m people were reached worldwide through a fresh approach to sustainability storytelling. Our sustainable food and fashion campaigns were supported by powerful influencers such as Livia Firth, Emma Watson and Lily Cole. We were proud to support the UN Foundation in launching the Global Goals, and to work with the Wellcome Trust in the lead up to COP21: several partner companies committed to 100% renewable energy with RE100 as a result of our We Got Power campaign. We gave a leg up to unsung sustainability pioneers, like ethical fashion start-up Birdsong London who have since raised £75,000 through crowd funding; and Leroy Mwasaru, an 18 year old entrepreneur from Kenya who we supported to attend and speak at One Young World in Arizona, was recently accepted into a Harvard University Social Innovation program. Our Collectively Labs generated over 19 exciting ideas from giving employees more time to hack sustainable innovations as part of their day jobs, to hosting a jobs fair fit for the future, to agreeing to change the way brands advertise, so that sustainable and ethical behaviours are the norm. Unilever went on to introduce gender equality principles in all its advertising. We ran a first Future Jobs Fair in 2016 with VICE Media and NYU exploring everything from how robots will take our jobs, to how to design a career with purpose. And we’ve already engaged over 200 Collectively partner employees to support them to start thinking about bringing sustainability into part of their day job. Introduction ‘Phase one’ of our journey has come to a successful close. VICE will be taking over the storytelling baton and bringing it to a way bigger global audience under the name VICE Impact. Collectively’s editorial team alumni are now working across some of the world’s leading media channels –, Lad Bible, Metro UK, The Guardian and Broadly - bringing the fresh Collectively style of sustainability storytelling to millions of people. In the next phase, we plan to focus the power of Collectively’s brand and network on making impact through collaborative action. But in the meantime we have a lot of learnings to share. We’ve tried to make them transferable and useful to all sorts of other organisations. Do let us know if we’ve succeeded! The Collectively Team (past and present)
  3. 3. Storytelling 1. Be relevant to me and my world Research told us that ‘sustainability needs a makeover’. The plan was to shift the focus from hopeless to hopeful, from issues to passion points, and from problems to solutions. However more important than any of this was relevance to me. Is the story about my world, our world, or the world? Don’t tell me about climate change, tell me about pollution in my city. 2. Grab me, provoke me, make me laugh We learnt that engaging people in sustainable living follows a lot of the same rules as engaging people in… anything else. If you want people to read and share, the headline is everything. Be provocative. Be topical. Be funny (sometimes). Seize the reader’s attention with stunning pictures. And sprinkle in some celebrity. 3. Enlist your community to grow your audience How to reach more eyeballs with your compelling content? Without a big pot of money, or a liberal attitude to clickbait, it’s not easy. Our corporate partners helped us, and we built relationships with other publishers. Equally important is to build a strong core community of influencers, and engage them up front in co-designing your editorial campaigns with you. 4. Tell great stories OR move people to action. Hard to do both. Be really clear on what your goal is. Are you trying to change attitudes or behaviours? Each route requires different skills and capabilities, different digital user journeys, and substantial resources to do really well. 5. Partner stories. Keep it real The starting point is to recognise that most millennials, especially those interested in sustainability, will start from a position of suspicion when it comes to brands and editorial content. Keys to engaging brand-sourced stories include openness and humility; focusing on the people making change happen; and linking the stories to audience passion points. Collaboration 1. Establish a shared purpose. And make it specific. The more specific the shared purpose, the more tangible the impact goals and timeframe, the clearer the approach, the more crunchy the upfront requirements of partners/ collaborators… the more likely it is that a collaboration will really take off. Then partners will be in it for the right reasons, and organisations with different motivations won’t join up. 2. What’s in it for me/us? Much as we might all want to make the world a better place, everyone who’s involved in a collaboration will ultimately need to connect it with their own agenda and self interest: as individuals and as organisations. So: understand what everyone is in it for, above and beyond the agreed mission… and make sure that can be delivered.   3. Collaboration = a different way to build a brand You’ve got to think differently about how your brand gets built through a collaboration. It’s not just about making sure your logo is big and frequently seen. You start by doing the right thing in a way that’s 100% authentic, in partnership with others – even your competitors. Then you let the people who have done the work tell the story.   4. Reinforce the spirit of collaboration at every step We’re all really busy, and when we’re busy it’s continuously tempting to default back to relationships that are transactional (buyer/seller, agency/client) rather than truly collaborative and co-creative. If a collaboration is going to flourish, the ‘backbone organisation’ must continually engage all parties in deepening their relationships with each other and co- owning the way forward. Learnings Summary Milllennials 1. Over-surveyed but still misunderstood Millennials are perhaps the most over surveyed generation in history, but arguably, as a group they are still widely misunderstood. Their unpredictability and failure to follow the norms of previous generations excites and scares brands and policy makers in equal measure. They offer us a lot to be hopeful for when it comes to normalising sustainable living but their desire to change the world should not be taken for granted. 2. When saving the world, the ‘how’ matters They might be passionate about the issues - but millennials pick causes, campaigns, products and services that align to their personal brands and values. They also want actions that work for them - whether its aesthetics in social sharing, or offline experiences that help build their tribe. Four things matter - make it aspirational, make it relevant, make it accessible and make me feel part of something. 3. We do care, but it’s complicated The gap between millennials’ values and their actions is still alarmingly huge. Should we point to hypocrisy or apathy for this? Perhaps sometimes, but our insights showed us that there is a need to look deeper - identifying the systemic and cultural barriers at play, and working collaboratively across business, government and civil society to address them.   4. We feel locked out of change and finding new ways to make a difference Older millennials are the generation who came of age protesting against the Iraq war, graduated into a recession and has spent their twenties clicking online petitions that rarely work. Elections are often stacked against them with policy makers disproportionately appealing to boomer voters. They’re being conditioned to see ‘change’ as an individual endeavour - yet the world needs collective action. 5. We’ll put cynicism aside if we see genuine action When we started Collectively, some doubts were expressed about its origins and its sponsors. Wouldn’t millennials immediately reject a media platform backed by brands? Although it’s made building the brand more complicated, we quickly discovered that our community responded well to good intention as long as we were transparent about our background and demonstrated a genuine commitment to radical action. “I want to learn about solutions to the problems in the world and how I can take action” Employee, Salesforce
  4. 4. The idea that led to Collectively was born in Davos, in January 2013. The World Economic Forum (WEF)’s ‘Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer’ workstream gave rise to the development of a digital media platform, focused on engaging millennials globally in making sustainable living and consumption the ‘new normal’. The opportunity was that for this generation, ‘sustainability needed a makeover’. Five big corporates backed the idea, and by autumn of 2013 VICE Media had won a competitive pitch and began work. VICE’s concept, named ‘Future Awesome’, won a positive reception at Davos the following January and the decision was made to launch. Unilever marketing VP Will Gardner took over the running of the project and led the work on partner recruitment and incorporation. VICE Media hired a Brooklyn-based editorial and marketing team. Forum for the Future came on board bringing expertise in sustainability, and Purpose joined the team to help us work out how best to move our audience to action. On October 7th 2014, the digital media platform was launched as a pilot with the name Collectively, and a $1.5m budget. The 28 corporate sponsors - each contributing $50k to WEF Davos – ‘Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer’ Green light to launch post Davos Incorporate Collectively Ltd #InnovativeEats campaign VICE Media come on board Launch Partner content on platform Collectively Labs - London the launch - became members of Collectively Ltd, a not-for-profit company registered the following month. The Board of Directors comprised senior leaders from Unilever, BT, M&S and Google; along with a number of NGO founder/CEOs, and the Managing Director of WEF USA. The challenge from the start was to build a fresh, authentic, highly credible editorial voice and build an audience. A number of partners contributed pro bono media to give Collectively a launch boost, and the monthly audience peaked at 700k in November 2014. In January 2015, Keith Weed (Unilever CMO) and Marc Bolland (Marks and Spencer CEO) shared progress at Davos. The decision was made to press on, with senior leaders from partner companies challenging the Collectively team to launch a major multi- partner campaign in 2015, and to experiment with hackathon-style workshops to address priority sustainability issues. Two key focus areas in early/mid 2015 were partner content, the launch of Collectively’s first editorial campaigns: Disrupt Your Diet and Fashion Take Back. In May the decision was made to bring the editorial operations into the Collectively team in London: one team, in one place, working seamlessly together. Collectively Timeline 2013 2014 2015Jan Jan FebSep Oct MarNov Jun Editorial Team to London ‘We Got Power’ campaign Future Jobs Fair, NYC Launch Spark Sessions Close Collectively Ltd and start developing ‘Collectively 2.0’ Launch Collectively Unleashed series Announce VICE Impact partnership Collectively Lab - NYC One Young World Arizona Global Goals launch w/ UN Foundation #FashionTakeBack In the meantime it had become clear that we’d increase our impact, and better engage our partners, by bringing them together to address key sustainable living challenges. Collectively Labs was born. By the end of four workshops in London and New York we had some really actionable millennial insights and 19 bold innovation ideas. 2015 was a huge year for the sustainability movement. In September, the UN launched the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the UN Foundation supported Collectively with a micro-grant to drive buzz around the launch. Collectively’s Board decided that COP21 was the key opportunity to engage a wider audience in a major multi-partner campaign. With a grant from the Wellcome Trust and hands-on involvement from M&S and Facebook, We Got Power was launched in November. More than half a million people got involved in the campaign and a number of Collectively partners signed up to RE100 as a result. Along the way, the same question keeps coming up. How can young people impact the world through their work? In March 2016, we piloted our first Future Jobs Fair, an idea that came out of our NYC Collectively Lab. We then took the 2016 conversation further through ‘Spark Sessions’, workshops with young partner company employees exploring how they can drive change from within. In our first Collectively Unleashed event we explored what we can learn from the Scandinavians about how to create a workplace that inspires employees to make things happen. In the meantime we’d really found our voice editorially, but it was clear we needed help to reach a much bigger global audience. Our friends at VICE told us they could help. Since the launch of Collectively two years previously VICE had really been bitten by the sustainability bug, and were keen to launch their own ‘impact’ vertical. A new partnership was formed: one in which VICE would run the storytelling under the new brand VICE Impact, partnering with Collectively which would focus on collaborative action. That brings us up to today. As we close the chapter on storytelling, and open a new one on collaborative action, we felt it was the right time to capture what we’ve learnt so far. Aug MarSep Jun SepNov Aug Dec
  5. 5. What we learnt about
  6. 6. 1. Be relevant to me and my world Our goal from the start was to reach the ‘uncommitted majority’ of millennials with stories that would, over time, inspire them to re-evaluate how they live, work and play. Research conducted in six countries by the World Economic Forum concluded that ‘sustainability needed a makeover’ amongst young people. They were turned off by doom and gloom warnings, impenetrable jargon (such as the word sustainability), dubious green labelling and greenwashing initiatives, and clicktivist campaigns. Our strategy as been to highlight the people, places and ideas that show that a sustainable lifestyle can be enriching and aspirational; to celebrate the innovations and innovators, the change and the changemakers. We endeavoured to keep an honest, authentic tone and to avoid jargon (including the word sustainability, whenever possible). Passion points were our entry points: fashion, food, tech, sex and gender, culture and travel. We launched in the US and the UK, and >70% of our audience has been from these two countries. They’re mostly 18-35 and urban – and we’d guess they’re well educated and left-leaning politically. What was the key to engagement? It’s not about issues vs. passion points, it’s all about relevance to me. Is the article about my world, our world, or the world? Don’t tell me about climate change, tell me about pollution in my city. I’ll happily read about cultural appropriation… when the headline’s about Justin Bieber’s dreadlocks. Our audience consistently wanted to read about sustainable fashion, gender and transgender issues, and cool new sustainable inventions from Kickstarter that they might want to buy. Secondly, the most engaging stories are about the people who are making change happen. Examples include Miki Agrawal and Thinx period panties, our most read story; Boyan Slat’s Ocean Cleanup project; and the flatpack urban farm, designed in Denmark by Mikkel Kjaer and Ronnie Markussen. “ Don’t tell me about climate change – tell me about pollution in my city.” “Collectively has started to change the conversation about how we can live sustainably. VICE is proud to have played a role in making that happen” Chief Creative Officer, Vice Media
  7. 7. 2. Grab me, provoke me, make me laugh We learnt that engaging people in sustainable living follows a lot of the same rules as engaging people in… anything else. It’s all very well having a world-saving message but you have to make it a message that people want to read and share. Where social media is your primary means of distribution this is particularly important. The headline is everything. Put people at the heart of the story. Our most shared video featured an interview with Lena Strickling, a teenage cancer and sexual assault survivor. Be human. Provocative, opinionated headlines and posts break through the clutter and get shared on social: for example, Andy Hill’s ‘5 lessons I’m teaching my son about white male privilege’. Be provocative. The best time to talk about biodiversity? On David Attenborough’s 90th birthday. Celebrities are of course a great entry point. We had wins with Livia Firth, Emma Watson, Lily Cole, Ian Somerhalder and more. Be topical. Stunning pictures stop thumbs on social media newsfeeds. Be visual. It’s the simplest, most effective way to bring people into your world. Be funny.
  8. 8. 3. Enlist your community OK, so you’re building a sustainability channel and you’ve got great writers (check), writing arresting headlines (check), making it relevant to me (check), with a delicately judged mixture of humour, provocation and celebrity. So far so good. How to build the audience? Of course, money helps. Collectively had a tiny monthly promotional budget, and otherwise we only promoted our stories and films when our partners – Facebook, Google, Twitter, Unruly and others – generously donated paid media to the cause. So our main learnings were all about how to drive organic reach, in a digital environment which is increasingly cluttered, fighting algorithms that are stacked in favour of promoted content. Our initial premise was that our twenty-eight corporate partners would distribute content through their channels, forming an immense content distribution network. In practice, this was hard to achieve. Firstly, it was complex and time consuming to build a network, since it required connecting with a lot of different contact points per partner company (e.g. .com website editor, intranet curator, etc). Secondly, many of our stories were either not aligned to the editorial focus of our partners’ comms channels or were too edgy for them. Corporate partner network. We worked hard to form partnerships with other publishers. In January 2016, we took over Time Out London’s Shopping & Style section. This helped us reach hundreds of thousands of new readers with sustainability content but didn’t significantly increase Collectively’s ongoing reach. Any partnership has to be a win win – so we found that the best strategy was to target similar sized, and like-minded, publishers working in the same space – such as Inhabitat, Atlas of the Future and Remake. Media partner network. Our monthly website traffic hit 700k at its peak, but we always knew that there were just a couple of hundred superstars in our network who were disproportionately important to Collectively’s success. The key was to enlist selected members of our community up front, whenever we moved onto a new topic or campaign. The best example was #FashionTakeBack, where we worked with a fabulous gang of influential collaborators to co-design the campaign and the content, and they then shared it with their network. Twitter chats have been great ways to launch a new topic. And we’ve had a lot of success when we’ve asked influencers to be guest writers: for example Lucy Siegle and Lucy Mangan for their FashionTakeBack pieces; Emma Gannon for the interview she did with Grace Helbig; and blogger Jen Gale (Make Do and Mend Life). Enlist the community.
  9. 9. 4.TellgreatstoriesORfocuson action Our primary aim with Collectively’s media channel was to change the conversation, by showing that sustainable consumption is possible, and a sustainable lifestyle can be enriching and aspirational. We would measure our success through reach and engagement metrics; and we’d measure attitude/mindset change over time. However, we also aspired to move people to action. Before launch, we engaged with New York based agency Purpose to develop models of how to do this. At the start, we placed ‘action buttons’ at the bottom of many of our stories – recommended actions our audience could take which were related to the story. We found this had the effect of diffusing our audience in different directions away from, reducing dwell time; and the actions were often not meaningful in terms of social or environmental impact. It became clear that we’d have to be patient. Firstly, we needed to build a substantial audience before we attempted to move them to action in a meaningful way. Secondly, we’d have to warm them up gently, with ‘low barrier’ social sharing campaigns, before asking them to do anything that required substantial commitment or trust. Our first social sharing campaign was #InnovativeEats, in which we invited our audience to try out new sustainable foods, or a sustainable café or restaurant, and share their experience back with the community via social channels. We followed up with #FashionTakeback. At the end of 2015 we designed a much more substantial multi- partner campaign – We Got Power – to engage our audience in demanding 100% renewable energy in the build up to COP21. (See separate mini case studies for all three campaigns). Our overall learning: in the start-up phase, be really clear on what your goal is. Are you trying to change attitudes or behaviours? Each route requires different skills and capabilities, different digital user journeys, and substantial resources to do really well.
  10. 10. 5. Partner stories: Keep it real From the start, our plan was that our corporate partners would share stories about their best sustainability initiatives on – with a rough target of 80% independent journalism, 20% partner-sourced content. What could we learn about how to make ‘partner content’ engaging to our millennial audience? How can we start developing a new kind of conversation between corporates and citizens about how to mainstream sustainable lifestyles and consumption? The starting point is to recognise that most millennials, especially those interested in sustainability, will start from a position of suspicion when it comes to brands and editorial content. Firstly, they need to know that our editorial team is operating fully independently of our brand partners, and is free to criticise their missteps as well as celebrate their sustainability successes. In terms of partner content, base camp is making sure that partner content is clearly flagged, and differentiated from the rest of the content, so that our audience don’t feel worried that we’re ‘smuggling it in’. Independence and transparency. Opinion pieces work best when the writer – often a senior figure in one of our partner companies – is able to set their company’s progress in the context of huge global challenges. When Mike Barry of M&S launched a new ethical fashion collection he wrote: ‘we’re eight years into our (Plan A) journey, but there is so much more for us to do before we find a true balance between society, planet and profit’. Humility: our steps are baby steps. People are interesting. Companies and case studies are less so. The most engaging corporate stories were ones that focused on the person behind the idea or the innovation and showed the human side of a new campaign or initiative. It’s inspiring and relatable to read about the personal story and more likely to be convincing and credible than a slick press release. Focus on the people, not the company. Okay, obvious but worth saying: find a topic your audience are interested in. It might be tech, food, travel, gender… or just something really, really NEW. We had success with ‘A visitor’s guide to sustainable Atlanta’ (Coca-Cola), ‘How to build a better healthcare system, one smartphone at a time’ (Philips), and a face cream made from recycled grape skins (M&S). The sweet spot in terms of effective formats was list pieces, where we could embed partner content in one or two list items, while making the rest of the items straighter editorial - and thus the whole thing was much more engaging. For example: ‘7 super-friendly robots that are changing our world for the better’ (in partnership with NRG). Passion point-led and innovative. Everyone loves a list. Like this one. “The world’s biggest brands need to engage young people in a two-way conversation about how we’re going to live differently. Bold, powerful content will inspire that conversation” Chief Marketing Officer, Unilever
  11. 11. Food Campaign Case Study: Build audience reach via our first ‘tentpole’ documentary film. Challenge our audience to re-think what they could and should be eating; try something new, and share it. We (the Collectively-VICE team) shot our first documentary: “America’s Shrinking Farms”. We travelled across the US to meet with some of the pioneers working to change our food system for the better and explore what we might be eating in 20 years—and the unlikely places our food may come from. With this first documentary we hoped to change the conversation around the major problems impacting our food system by bringing attention to some of the innovators working to radically change the system from the ground up. We surrounded our documentary film with a lot of other written food content. To increase engagement around our food month and to directly address and build discussions around some of the themes that emerge in America’s Shrinking Farms, we invited our readers and supporters to join our #InnovativeEats social campaign. We asked individuals to post a photo of something they’re eating that’s a little better for their body or the planet with the hashtag #InnovativeEats to help us re-think what we could be eating and what should be on our plates in the America’s Shrinking Farms: 210k Video views of full film, 500 Shares, 1000+ Comments & Likes. It’s a great film – watch it on YouTube! – and It showed that we wouldn’t shy away from tackling difficult topics. However, it’s possible that the film was too long, at 18 minutes: if you’re VICE, people know you for long films, but we didn’t have that reputation. The #InnovativeEats campaign wasn’t sufficiently well linked to the tentpole documentary – the two pieces felt somewhat disconnected. The key takeaway was that we needed to think harder about how to drive reach. Firstly, we needed a bigger, clearer ‘hook’ or buzz mechanic to guarantee press pick up. Secondly we needed to find a way to engage our corporate partners and their networks: our documentary was implicitly challenging of our food partners and wasn’t relevant for our non-food partners. Lastly, we needed to devote more budget to driving reach. Overall: we got started, delivered our first campaign, and learnt a load. Perfect :) future. To incentivize and inspire ideas, we also created a giveaway with cricket-themed treats to go to our favourite posts, we built a Tagboard to pull photos from across social channels into one place, and we re-posted photos across our own social platforms. Goals What we did Results & Learning Soon after launch, we decided to focus on food for our first attempt to integrate compelling content with a social media campaign. Food’s a real passion point for our audience, and huge changes are needed to the world’s food system – so it gave us the ideal opportunity to challenge our audience to lead the way. If we did this kind of campaign again, we’d build in much more lead time to work with our partners to see what bold experiments and commitments they were prepared to take towards supporting the rise in veganism and new sustainable protein sources. Next time
  12. 12. Fashion Take Back Case Study: Give our support to emerging innovators and disruptors in the fashion industry, and challenge fashion lovers everywhere to take fashion back into their own hands – showing their friends what ‘good’ fashion now really means. Grow our audience along the way. We wanted to challenge the ‘status quo’ conversation that happens online during Fashion Week by galvanizing our influencers and talented ethical fashion community in a social media campaign - #FashionTakeBack. We created the hashtag around the concept that people everywhere are leading a ‘take back’ in the industry by re-claiming what they love about good fashion and sharing it using the #FashionTakeBack tag. Collectively first launched a series of editorial pieces around hot topics in the ethical fashion world, like body positive initiatives, fairer fashion projects from our partners, and makers who are keeping fashion slow and interesting. We generated online engagement around the ‘take back’ concept by asking some of our favourite ethical fashion influencers to support the campaign through editorial pieces and tweets. We partnered with Elite Daily to support the message and they posted and shared the concept to millions of followers. We Our #fashiontakeback tag reached over 1 million people across all channels and received well over 1 million impressions on Instagram alone. Fashion Take Back material increased our website traffic by 65% against the previous month. Influencer pick-up was really encouraging. We had strong support from Lily Cole, Lucy Siegle, Livia Firth and many others, along with a retweet from Emma Watson to her 20 million followers. It showed us that getting key people in our community involved from the start to shape the campaign with us was key to success. From a corporate partner point of view, it was somewhat quieter. C&A Foundation supported us on social media. M&S helped co-create the Fashion Take Back concept but chose not to participate in campaign roll-out given an already full fashion programme in September. Whilst the campaign felt ‘very Collectively’ in spirit, the creative concept of ‘taking back’ fashion probably made it harder for our partners to get behind it. asked our community during fashion weeks ‘take back fashion’ and either swap, rent, buy vintage, upcycle or donate their clothes and post and share how they were taking fashion back with the hashtag and their clothing item. And we got involved in a wealth of conversations and events happening in the ethical fashion world and worked with people running similar campaigns, such as Fashion Revolution. Goals What we did Results & Learning Following the food campaign, we were straight into planning the next one: and it had to be sustainable fashion. It was a winning topic with our readership and all around us we could see sparks of disruptive change. We’d just like to make it bigger. Plan ahead, involve more people and organisations, go offline as well as online. Sustainable fashion REALLY engages our audience, and we have a wonderful community of experts and influencers who are ready to get behind something really big in this space. We’d love to work with a few leading edge fashion corporates, NGOs and innovators to explore how to take sustainable fashion right into the heart of the mainstream. Next time “Collectively has helped sustainable start-ups like Birdsong to share our story with young people who care” Founder, Birdsong
  13. 13. Collaboration What we learnt aboutWhat we learnt about
  14. 14. When we started the Collectively journey we were a storytelling platform, aiming to engage ‘aspirational’ millennials in sustainable ways of living by changing the conversation. In the six months before launch we invited many of the world’s biggest and best companies to seed fund the launch to the tune of $50k each. All we asked was that those companies had an interest in mainstreaming sustainable living. In terms of involvement, they would contribute their most engaging and authentic stories; and to help us distribute Collectively’s content far and wide. The relative informality of this arrangement – the strong sense we had of ‘let’s just get started’ – enabled us to bring on board 28 corporate partners for launch, providing strong evidence of our ambition to leverage the power of collective action. However, our partners had joined for differing reasons, and with differing wants and expectations. Some wanted to make sure their brand was associated with ‘good for the world’ stories. Others wanted to stay in the background, watch and learn. Others again weren’t interested in storytelling per se – they were more excited by what these organisations could achieve through collaborative action. Over time we experimented with more specific goals and new approaches, continuously experimenting to meet the differing needs and wants of our partners and see what really gets traction. Most of what we have done has struck gold with a few partners!…. but at the cost of consistency and impact. Better to have a really clear focus, and rally around it people and organisations that REALLY care, even if you lose organisations for whom that’s not a priority. The launch of the Global Goals in September 2015 has given all types of organisations, big and small, across sectors, a common framework, language and set of metrics for collaboration. But it’s still a high level framework, and we need to dig deeper. Many of our partners are focusing on Gender Equality for example, but the current status, ambition and ‘angle’ of each organization needs to be well understood up front. 1. Establish a shared purpose… and make it specific “You achieve collective impact when you bring together brands, NGOs and popular influencers behind a specific impact goal” Chief Sustainability Officer, BT
  15. 15. Successful collaborations depend on the ongoing energy and commitment of the collaborators. There’s an exchange, a give-and-get in which different organisations are hoping to derive a benefit and in pursuit of that benefit, are willing to put in some combination of money and resources. The motivations and energies of participating individuals and organisations needs to be really well managed by the ‘backbone’ organization in the centre. With Collectively, we set ourselves a pretty tough challenge. For starters, we launched with 28 huge multinational companies as our corporate members. We also felt it was key to develop meaningful and impactful relationships with selected NGOs, and with organisations such as the World Economic Forum, the UN Foundation and One Young World. Finally we wanted to develop communities of social entrepreneurs, and celebrity influencers who could make our stories and campaigns travel. That’s a lot of needs and motivations to understand and tap into. On the one hand these communities are fabulously different from each other… but in the end they’re looking for many of the same things: • impact against their social good goals • credibility for their brand(s) in the minds of their key audiences • new connections with people and organisations who’ll be useful to them • meaningful use of their skills and expertise • (and in some cases) financial compensation for their time At launch, Collectively benefited from the generosity of a number of organisations: in terms of free media, creative resource, PR, legal services and more. A few organisations are still contributing pro bono services two years on. Thank you so much! But the big learning has been this: above and beyond the shared goal, dig deep into what participants are really expecting from the collaboration, up front - the give and the get. It’s important to be confident these expectations will be met to avoid disappointments down the path. 2. What’s in it for me/us?
  16. 16. Over the last 5-10 years, cross-sectoral collaborations have bloomed – but most have been directed at supply side impacts, such as the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, rather than focused on the demand side: how to work together to engage citizens. So this is fairly new ground, and it hasn’t been surprising that the question arises: how can I build my brand through this collaboration? Even more so, given Collectively launched with tooth- and-nail competitors amongst its membership base: such as Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Unilever and Nestle, Facebook and Google. Engaging a millennial audience makes it even more critical to answer this question well. It’s well known that the millennial generation is the most brand-surveyed, advertising-targeted generation in history and that has made many young people understandably skeptical of big brands and their messages. So here’s what we’ve worked out along the way. If an organization tries too hard to make sure its brand gets ‘airtime’ within a collaboration, two things will happen: firstly, it alienates other collaborators; and secondly, it will alienate the audience, who want to see real action and impact before they get the brand ‘bla bla’. 3. Collaboration = a different way to build a brand Instead, collaborators should focus fully on authentic action. If the ‘solution’ is for millennials, engage millennials in creating it. Test it at small scale. Make sure it creates real impact, and make sure all stakeholders support how it works. Scale it step by step. If it’s truly good, the people in every organization who have made it happen will have incredibly powerful, human stories to tell about how it came to be. The fact that PepsiCo did it with Coca-Cola, or Unilever with Nestle, just makes it all the more extraordinary. That’s the point at which the Comms department can get busy… in a humble, transparent, authentic way.
  17. 17. When we launched Collectively, the initial focus was on the power of collective action – the ability of almost 30 big multinationals to use their communication channels to engage young people in sustainable living – rather than on collaboration. So we set up Collectively as a membership organization. There have been five ‘corporate members’ who have a legal responsibility for the venture and therefore a greater decision making responsibility, including positions on the Board alongside Directors from the NGO sector. The other corporates involved have been ‘sponsoring members’. All have paid the same annual fee to be Collectively members. We decided early on that our relationships with NGOs would be project-based and informal – better to avoid all the paperwork when there’s no exchange of money involved. Communications with our members have consisted of: quarterly teleconferences; regular 1-to-1 meetings or calls between the Collectively team and a member; and occasional opportunities to come together face to face with other members and with our wider community, such as Collectively Labs and the Future Jobs Fair. Many aspects of this arrangement have served us well. Members have mostly felt well informed and consulted, and there has been a high level of trust – the decisions of the Board and the Working Team have been respected, and no member has expressed a concern that others were more favoured or prioritized. 4. Reinforce the spirit of collaboration at every step However, we have learnt that in moving from collective action to true collaboration, it’s really important to keep building relationships between members and other collaborators, and make sure that they feel they co- own the direction of the project. What does it look like when it’s going wrong? The ‘backbone team’ (in this case the Collectively core team) finds itself pitching projects to members. Members start looking upon it much like an agency/client relationship. Some start semi-detaching as they don’t feel they’re getting as much value from membership as they were hoping for. What’s the solution? More opportunities to co- create and feel co-ownership. More face-to- face time to build strong relationships between the members. More of the work being done by the members than by the ‘backbone team’. In October 2016 the Collectively team invited our members and other stakeholders to help us co-create new routes for brands to work together to mainstream sustainable living. It reminded us that we’re pretty damn good at ‘in the room’ collaboration– convening, fostering an atmosphere of openness and trust, inspiring people to think big and make new connections. We just need to do it more often. “The Collectively brand has the ‘ingredient X’; it’s coherent and is really portable and valuable - it attracts people with the vibe and attitude.” Director, Forum for the Future
  18. 18. Collectively Labs Case Study: Deepen our understanding of how sustainable living comes to life in the world of millennials everyday (focus US/UK). Create a set of tangible ideas that could be taken forward by brand partners: ideas that can help make the new normal possible. Break the mold (or mould?!) of corporate workshops in terms of mix of attendees, production and location. Develop a proof of concept for future ‘Lab’ work streams. We saw available market insight on the millennial generation and sustainable living largely stopped at ‘millennials care and like brands to care too’. This level of insight doesn’t do justice to the complex web of systemic, cultural and behavioural barriers that were preventing a mass uptake of sustainable living. The team at Forum for the Future identified a need to go further than this, and really bridge the gap between millennial insight and sustainable living. Our research focused on the intersection of ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what the next generation wants’, or ‘the right thing’ and ‘the cool thing’ (BBMG). We ran 4 labs, with over 80 attendees from 45 organisations. We used desk research, real world stories, and the shared analysis from each of the salons, to develop seven ‘new normal’ themes across different aspects of millennial lifestyles – ‘aspiring for less’, ‘work life harmony’, ‘good for me’, ‘just honest’, ‘thoughtful fun’, ‘find my tribe’ and ‘let me be’. Together we generated 17 ideas which could help make sustainable living the new normal. Two ideas were taken forward into Collectively work streams (Future Jobs Fair, Spark Sessions) and one idea was tackled by Unilever (tackling gender stereotypes in advertising). These Labs proved to us and our partners the value of insight-led innovation and offline collaboration, but ultimately they lacked the funding and brand- led resource of a fully fledged innovation program. Through the summer of 2015, we prototyped the ‘Collectively Lab’ model - bringing together leading research from BBMG and Globescan, along with a series of insights from millennial employees and community members, to look at a range of issues from housing and city life, to mental health and attitudes to work. This insight was presented as stimulus for several ½ day workshops held in London and New York, bringing together senior leaders from our partners, with millennial employees and influencers. Goals What we did Results & Learning Looking at the logo list of Collectively partners, a young Googler said in a pre-launch focus group ‘with brands like that, they really need to drop a bomb on us’. Millennials are looking to brands not just to share stories, but to actively address barriers to sustainable living and accelerate positive change through collaboration. The good news? Our brand partners wanted to do that too. We’re convinced that insight-led collaborative innovation is the key to unlocking the system barriers hindering the mainstreaming of sustainable ways of living. We hope to explore this further with our partners in 2017 and beyond, focusing in on 3-4 major impact challenges. “ The Lab was brilliant… innovative thinking and big thinking for brands. Great for mobilising big brands against strong market insight” Lab Participant, C&A Foundation Next time
  19. 19. We Got Power Case Study: Engage millennials globally in the urgency and importance of a clean energy future, and the role they can play in making it happen – supporting the shared #go100percent hashtag. Build a sense of unstoppable momentum via renewable energy commitments from corporates and other organisations. We wanted to make the COP21 event and negotiations feel relatable to our audience. Energy is the one area where our audience and partners can take tangible action, towards demanding global action on climate change. Our concept: ‘dirty energy is ruining the world I cherish... I feel powerless to change this through politics or personal choices… but collectively, we can show our demand for 100% clean energy and encourage organisations to respond. Collectively, We Got Power’. Audience Activation: we invited our audience to watch a 30-second film, go to the microsite and ‘press for power, and we’ll make sure that more organisations around the world, big and small, hear your voice and feel inspired to respond.’ Visitors could then see a list of organisations that have committed to #go100percent. We achieved a good level of audience reach over the 6 weeks of the campaign: 40m social media impressions; 2m video views & 46k shares; >500k campaign engagements; 160m media impressions. 4 corporate partners signed up to RE100 at least in part due to our campaign. It was a very fast design process for this activity (given COP21 deadline) and that meant we didn’t have as much time as we’d have liked to co-create the mechanic with our community. Whilst the mechanic of getting the audience to motivate bold action by brands was a good idea in principle, it required a much longer lead in time. A mechanic of this type would need several months in order to lay foundations with brand partners and ensure partners were ready to make bolder commitments in public. Nevertheless we had very strong hands on campaign support from M&S and Facebook, and amplification support from Unilever, BT, Dentsu, Google, Forum for the Future and Unruly. Activation with Partners: Several partners played key roles in helping us design and amplify the campaign. We set out to rally partner support for RE100, and encourage partners to make new clean energy announcements during COP21. We also did a big outreach programme to universities. The campaign was generously co-funded by The Wellcome Trust. Goals What we did Results & Learning 2015 was a huge year for the sustainability movement, and many of our partners wanted to use the opportunity to demonstrate the power of collective action: most or all of our partner organisations coming together powerfully behind a single activation of common interest. As the year unfolded the Collectively Board decided that COP21 was the ideal opportunity Give partners a lot more time to plan it into their schedules. To increase millennial relevance, maybe run a campaign that puts pressure on landlords and energy companies to provide renewable tariffs as the norm. Or something to help people overcome the behavioural hurdle of switching... for example, all partners of Collectively providing employees with an hour of their work day to switch their energy tariff. Next time
  20. 20. Millennials What we learnt aboutWhat we learnt about
  21. 21. Born between 1980 and the mid 1990s, millennials are of huge interest to marketers, policy makers and thought leaders. Their power is phenomenal and it’s growing. They are the most educated generation in history, the most globally connected and are set to overtake the spending power of the boomer generation. By 2025, they will make up 75% of the global workforce. Collectively narrowed its focus on millennials early on. Sustainable attitudes and behaviours were already over indexing with this generation, and it was felt that the new media platform could tap into, and amplify these trends, accelerating towards a tipping point in mindsets and culture. In short, they were the ‘lowest hanging fruit’ and the most likely to respond to, and catalyse, a media platform aimed at sustainable living. They were also of significant interest to the brand partners - who view this generation as crucial to establishing a marketplace for sustainable products and services. This is a generation turning against the shift towards globalised brands and traditional products and services - favouring independent coffee shops, public transport over car ownership and urban renting over saving for home ownership. Understanding how this ‘future consumer’ was thinking, feeling and likely to act was and remains a primary motivator for many corporate partners. But whilst survey after survey tells us that millennials care about sustainability and that they are willing to support brands who do too, the reality is that many are still not acting. There is a gulf between values and action and it could be getting worse. Much of the initial excitement about how millennials are shunning a material world could actually have just been a delay all along - with car ownership and meat consumption now on the rise in the US. 1. Over surveyed but still misunderstood Our learnings over the last two years have shown us that millennials are far more nuanced and complicated than many reports and data sets allow for. And that in order to understand the millennial generation in the context of sustainable living we must look at the wider cultural and systemic context that drives their beliefs and behaviours. In the following pages we’ve captured some of what we’ve learnt. The focus on “millennial” has opened many doors over the last two years, but the label can be polarising. Millennials, for one, hate the term. Many find it patronising and are fed up of the negative stereotypes. Many non-millennials are drawn to the vision, brand and ideas behind Collectively and feel that the overt focus on one generation comes across as exclusive. Starting your own millennial focused project? Avoid using ‘millennial’ overtly with your audience, build a fresh brand that will appeal to younger audiences but use inclusive language and imagery. Warby Parker doesn’t have an age limit on the door, but it’s clearly the go-to eyewear brand for the millennial generation. Note: “Don’t call me millennial”
  22. 22. 2. When saving the world, the ‘how’ matters In 2014 when you searched for an image for ‘sustainability’ you would mostly find a pair of hands cradling a seedling in various shades of pastel blue and green. Click on the website of whatever cause and campaign and often you’d land on a clunky, wordy and difficult to navigate website. Collectively was different: we used arresting imagery, fresh language and a great user experience to entice our audience in. We made it desirable to be sustainable. We weren’t alone - from Patagonia and Toms to Airbnb and Method, brands that align purpose with beauty, perform much better with aspirational consumers. Obvious maybe, but the outdated imagery of sustainability is still overly used.   Make it aspirational This point is so important it bears repeating. Millennials care hugely about their online and real world identities - but this goes much further than aesthetics, great digital design and brilliant photography. Calls to Action have to be curated to fit with lifestyles too - well timed, not too worthy and do-gooding, and importantly authentic and demonstrate a genuine impact. By far, our most popular campaigns and topics were at the intersection of fashion and social justice - content that was not only beautiful but included asks that felt timely, important and aligned to current trends and popular debates.   Make it relevant Go to where your audience are - the more your content can be woven into the channels and brands they’re already engaging with the better. Thinking of starting your own content platform on sustainability? Why not think of setting up a B2B media aggregator working with existing media platforms to weave in sustainable living content and stories. In many ways the Collectively legacy is this. As well as the partnership with VICE Impact, our editorial alumna have gone on to mainstream titles including LadBible, Metro, VICE, Broadly, Munchies and the Guardian - all committed to carry forward the Collectively vision of making sustainable living the new normal.   Make it accessible Our community often told us they felt ‘alone’ in their sustainability values and fearful of being judged, especially in the workplace. As well as portraying sustainability beautifully online, we tapped into the importance of tribe, and curated events and experiences that made our community feel part of something cool. Millennials really respond to a vibe and energy in a room and value the connection that they often don’t get in the online world. Creating desirable and safe spaces helped our audience to see they’re not alone and in doing so feel more confident. They told us the thing they love most about Collectively is “the opportunity to connect with people who have similar values and beliefs to them”. This affirmation of community is not only important for the individual, it is essential for the overall Collectively mission — the real relationships and tribes formed offline give millennials, and indeed all of us, more confidence to shout about their values both offline and online too. Make me feel part of something “Keeping people in the room, inspiring people to stay engaged, I know personally - that’s bloody hard work. Nobody wants to pay for that, it’s not output oriented, and you can’t put a number to it, but it’s the make or break ingredient.” Director, Forum for the Future
  23. 23. 3. We do care, but it’s complicated By and large, the majority of aspirational millennials desire a cleaner, fairer, safer, healthier and more secure future. For that matter, most of us do. But wanting it and achieving it are very different things. The big question on our lips is how to cross the value action gap? We know that one crucial step towards doing this would be to understand far more about the barriers.   Let’s take renewable energy - we know that there’s widespread support for clean energy amongst younger people, but that’s not showing up in data on where millennials buy their energy. In December 2015 we set out to address this through a campaign to encourage millennials to demand more renewable energy. We discovered that many of this generation lack agency and motivation to do anything about it. Many live in rented accommodation where they don’t choose their own utility provider, or if they do, they move houses every 12-18 months and so have very little incentive to invest time in switching providers.   Campaigns all too often focus on promoting the behaviour without factoring in the bigger system. It’s like asking people to ride a bike when there’s no bike lanes, roads are dangerous and you don’t have a shower after a sweaty ride. You can make cycling look as cool as you want, but the uptake will only increase when the infrastructure improves. Asking people to change their behaviour, when it’s difficult, impossible, or futile for them to do it, can be inefficient and sometimes also counter productive. It’s putting the pressure on the individual when actually the pressure needs to be applied to the system. And that can be hugely off-putting and disempowering to make it ‘my problem’ if there’s very little I can do about it.   We need to look deeper to address this values action gap - not just asking millennials to demand differently but applying the might of our networks - to work with the millennial generation to work out what’s stopping progress, and how we can unlock change. This was the thinking when we set up the Labs. Our research focused on the intersection of ‘what the world needs’ and ‘what the next generation wants’ - unpacking sustainability issues from the perspective of how millennials experience them. For example, why would I invest in my local community when I’m going to be transient for the next decade? How can I do work that aligns with my values when I can’t afford to pay rent without my corporate job? Once we hone in on these barriers we can start to identify solutions that are likely to stick. Want a renewable revolution? Work with young people to target landlords. Want the next generation to invest in growing communities? Make it possible for renters to stay in a suburb for more than 18 months. Want people to change the world? Make it possible for them to do it as part of their day job.   All of these big systemic breakthroughs are possible when you apply the might of Collectively ‘s network. There’s a massive opportunity for brands to step up, and start working with the next generation to do it.
  24. 24. 4. We feel locked out of change and finding new ways to make a difference A World Economic Forum report in 2013 found that a staggering 83% of millennials feel like it’s “their responsibility to change the world”. A 2012 MTV study found that two thirds of millennials feel that their generation is starting a movement to change outdated systems. Yet on the flip side, millennials are often accused of being apathetic, lazy and individualistic, especially when it comes to political activity. Electoral turnout is usually way below the national average for under 30s, and as a result policy makers increasingly propose manifestos that disproportionately benefit older generations and under-represent younger people. And whilst millennials support action on a range of social and environmental issues, this rarely manifests into large scale protest - with many resorting to ‘clicktivism’ instead.   The charge of lazy and apathetic is however, over simplistic. This is a generation that’s grown up in an individualistic era - where protest through your personal clothing, food, and living choices is the norm. Whilst there have been spikes of collective action over the last 15 years, such as the protests against the Iraq War, or the Occupy Movements against the global financial crisis, many of these have failed. When you can’t achieve change through voting, or through protest, it sends a message that change isn’t possible - and it’s making this generation feel locked out. Even demonstrating your ‘purchasing power’ feels futile when the global economic system feels stacked towards producing unequal, unjust and unsustainable outcomes around the world.   However, millennials are creative and are finding new ways to express their desire for change. The rise in social innovation has been fuelled by a purpose driven, digital savvy and creative generation eager to show that business can be a force for good. And the rise in tech has enabled new forms of value exchange to emerge from the sharing economy mega brands through to crowd-funding start ups. Disruption is emerging in new places - and one area where millennials demand their voices are heard is in their work - with many choosing freelancing and start-up life over established career paths. Deloitte estimate that 70% of millennials want to work independently and outside of the system. Study after study show that younger employees are leaving jobs for more meaning, impact, freedom and voice.   We believe there’s a powerful role for employers to play in creating spaces and opportunities to unleash purpose inside the workplace and enabling the next generation to create the world they want through their work. Not only is this vital if we’re to deal with some of the most complex challenges we’ll be facing in the next decade, but essential to retaining a generation of employees determined to disrupt.
  25. 25. 15 years ago if you asked a group of people whose responsibility it was to take action on the millennial development goals you’d most likely have been told ‘NGOs and governments’. Now it’s a very different story. Not only do most people see business as a key driver for action on the Sustainable Development Goals, in many cases they see them as the best hope we have. Take the electric car and energy storage as one area. It’s Tesla that’s leading the world on advances in innovation, not the action of governments. Likewise, brands like Patagonia have raised the profile of the circular economy far further than any NGO. Business and brands are firm fixture in the change ecosystem, and millennials accept that you can do well by doing good. In fact, they’d be suspicious if you weren’t. When we launched Collectively, there was understandable cynicism, but there was also a great deal of enthusiasm and hope for the vision. The most common response, “If the world’s biggest brands can’t mainstream sustainable living, then who can?” Our community gave us a huge amount of time and energy, because they believed in the potential for our partners to do something huge, but throughout they always wanted to know, what will the brands be doing to support this? What action will they be taking? But we quickly learned that being ‘behind’ an initiative was not enough. Millennials will put aside cynicism if they see genuine action, but if they don’t they’ll dismiss it. Corporate stories didn’t perform well on Collectively, but stories of individuals inside companies creating change did. There’s something believable and relatable about the role of individuals whether they are pioneering action as an activist, entrepreneur or an intrapreneur inside the system. Campaigns can be backed by brands, but there needs to be bold action being taken behind the scenes. 5. We’ll put cynicism aside if we see genuine action We missed opportunities to bake in radical action in the early days of Collectively. When we released ‘America’s Shrinking Farms’, a film exploring the future of protein, we missed a chance to work with our partners to see what bold experiments and commitments they were prepared to take towards supporting the rise in veganism and novel insect proteins. In order to achieve this sort of collective action, we needed longer lead times and have Collectively much more embedded into the mindsets of senior leaders and innovation teams. We tried to kick start this through the Collectively Labs, asking questions about how Collectively could inspire bold action at the centre of R&D and core business. ‘We Got Power’ was an attempt to bake in this more collective action approach, combining brand action on renewable commitments, with an audience facing campaign to take individual action on renewables. . Our hopes for the future of Collectively, and for other work done by our partners and community, is that more can be done to work together with millennials to drive bold collective action- stepping up where governments and NGOs aren’t and standing for new ways of fuelling progress. We cannot afford to sit by and wait for governments to take action on issues like renewable investment, waste, obesity, and gender equality. If the world’s biggest brands and the most powerful generation come together, change could be unstoppable.
  26. 26. Spark Sessions Case Study: Build a community of engaged future leaders inside partner companies. Gather insight about what issues matter to young employees, as well as barriers to creating change internally. Inspire young employees to think through what changes they want to make happen, and how they can do it. We’d like to do more of these… and engage senior leaders in giving their younger employees the time, space, funding and aircover to drive disruptive change from within. We hosted 6 Spark Sessions over the summer of 2016 with young employees from Accenture, BT, Dentsu Aegis, Salesforce, Unilever and Unruly: 3-hour sessions with 10 to 25 employees, usually hosted offsite. The sessions combined a series of co-innovation exercises, workshop tools and stimulus to help attendees explore the question of ‘how can we ignite a spark from within?’. The Spark Sessions were split into four parts; the first focused on individual interests and obstacles, the second focused on the opportunities and barriers that exist within our company, and the third focused on how these can be combined to create meaningful change that the world needs. The final part of the session took the form of “an ideathon” where attendees were asked to rapidly develop ideas in smaller groups before presenting back. The Sessions were a huge success, with average score on “how useful the attendees found the sessions” = 4.9/5. Overall, attendees appreciated the opportunity to connect with like-minded people in their company and went away feeling more equipped to drive positive change through their roles. Many millennial employees want to work for a company that paves the way for a more transparent, accountable and socially and environmentally responsible corporate sector – and that challenges other corporates to do the same. Recurring issues they wanted to tackle included sustainable resourcing, circular economy, poverty and inequality, isolation and loneliness, importance of educating children about sustainability, gender roles, and changing the sentiment around growth from focusing solely on profit. Common barriers to driving change from within included lack of time, lack of connections with like- minded people, fear of colleagues’ perceptions, bureaucracy within the company, awards-schemes that fail to recognize efforts to drive positive change, and lack of buy-in from managers. Goals What we did Results & Learning Next time A key learning from Collectively Labs was that millennial employees are looking for opportunities to drive sustainable innovation and positive change through their day jobs. As a first step towards equipping millennial employees to “spark change from within”, we ran a series of Spark Sessions over the summer of 2016. “I have lots of amazing ideas that I try to implement here but struggle to do that and to get the support I need” Spark Session Participant
  27. 27. Future Jobs Fair Case Study: First and foremost, we wanted to show final year university graduates that purposeful, future-ready jobs can be found in all sorts of different organisations: start-ups, big corps, NGOs and beyond. Like any Jobs Fair, we wanted to match talented graduates with great jobs. Finally, we wanted to make this into a vibrant dialogue – with invited companies going away at the end having learnt a lot about what today’s purpose-driven graduates are wanting from the changing world of work. We need to communicate the concept more clearly ahead of the fair so all students understand better what to expect; and give a longer lead-time for companies so they can have time to be more creative the job roles they’re offering. Otherwise – this is a concept that’s ripe for roll out. We’d love to do another one in London and find the right model to take it global. Our pilot Future Jobs Fair was hosted by VICE Media at their Brooklyn offices on a breezy March afternoon. We invited Collectively partner companies and a wide range of other organisations to come with ‘future jobs’ to discuss with students from the NYU Stern School of Business. Attendees were given the opportunity to talk to company representatives in a really informal, chilled setting and take part in panel discussions about the future of work. Overall the event was a great success. We hosted 20 partner companies and other collaborators, including Accenture, Google, Nestle, NRG, Rainforest Alliance, Etsy, B-Labs and more. More than 120 students attended. A number of internships were filled, and 100% of organisations who replied to our survey said they were likely to offer the students roles. Feedback was very strong from both students and organisations, both welcoming the concept and the rich discussions that came from an informal environment. Goals What we did Results & Learning Next time At our Collectively Lab in NYC, a group started talking about the future of work. The next generation are demanding flexibility, meaning, equality and empowerment from their jobs. But where are these jobs to be found? How can final year university students navigate the changing world of work? Tensie Whelan of NYU Stern and Eddy Moretti of VICE Media decided to work with Collectively to pilot a Future Jobs Fair. “Meeting a variety of people in the sustainability and impact space helped me to understand the breadth of directions I can take my interest in combining social impact and business” New York University Student
  28. 28. Thank you Collectively started off as a bold experiment, and the spirit of experimentation has stayed with us. It has required from everyone a passion for learning and a dose of patience when things don’t go totally to plan. So, a big thank you… … to our partners over the last two years: the stayers, the newcomers and the leavers. Accenture, Audi, BBH, BT, C&A Foundation, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, Dentsu Aegis, Diageo, Dow Chemical, Facebook, GE, General Mills, Google, Havas, IPG, Johnson & Johnson, Kingfisher, Lenovo, M&S, McDonalds, Medialink, Microsoft, Nestle, Nike, NRG, Omnicom, PepsiCo, Philips, SAB Miller, Salesforce, Thomson Reuters, Twitter, Unilever, WPP and Yahoo. … to our brilliantly talented friends at VICE Media and at Forum for the Future, who have played such a key role in setting us on our way. … to our many other collaborators, too numerous to mention: agencies, Foundations, NGOs, media companies, innovators and change makers. … to our Board of Directors and Editorial Committee, who have given so much time and wise counsel. This report marks the end of the first chapter. The job of mainstreaming sustainable ways of living is far from done, and we’re convinced that Collectively has the potential to spark a movement of young people who want to change the world for the better, through collective action… along with a growing group of enlightened organisations who want to play their role in tackling the SDGs through unleashing that energy and talent. Let’s #actcollectively.