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Five key learnings from the ongoing Environmental Impact Lab

Screengrab from the Impact Lab session with Lea Guerrero of Greenpeace

The three-month Environmental Impact Lab with our five Asia-Pacific film initiatives and three impact producers has approached the halfway mark! Together with guest mentors and members of the EngageMedia team, the Impact Lab participants continue to learn how to better design their impact campaigns.

Applications for the second run of the Impact Lab will open later this month.

Here are five key learnings from the Impact Lab sessions so far.

1. Think about the image you want to capture before doing anything

In a session with Lea Guerrero from Greenpeace Southeast Asia, we learned about their methodology as a successful organisation advocating for environmental issues. A moving image stands at the heart of most of their campaigns and the capturing of this image is by no means left to chance or coincidence. What the image is supposed to say and what feelings and reactions it’s meant to provoke are carefully planned and determined by audience research and clear campaign strategies and goals.

Lea opened our eyes to really think through what we want to show audiences, and to anticipate how they will react. Oftentimes, this thinking will require opening up a dialogue with affected communities and trying out different types of messaging and strategies – all of which happens well before even picking up a camera.


2. Ask yourself: ‘How Might We?’

In another Lab session, we challenged our participants and asked them to create “How Might We” (HMW) statements that break down a bigger problem into smaller challenges that can be more easily targeted. As the members of the participating projects started brainstorming and formulating their HMWs, they discovered new angles and strategies for their videos. Most of all, we learned that there’s many ways in which video can be used to contribute to environmental justice.

3. What is an Impact Producer?

All Impact Lab participants can rely on the one-on-one support of  three seasoned mentors, who are all experienced impact producers. The mentors help participants keep things realistic and make sure that progress is made.

We also discovered that there’s still a lot to learn about the role of impact producers within film projects or video initiatives. This has inspired us to start the production of a video titled,“What is an Impact Producer?”, which should be out in a couple of weeks.

Click the image to access the Impact Toolkit in English and Bahasa Indonesia.
Click the image above to access the Impact Toolkit in English and Bahasa Indonesia.

4. The Impact Toolkit is the Lab’s backbone

The Video for Change Impact Toolkit has proven itself to be highly useful as the informational backbone of the Impact Lab. There’s a reference in the Toolkit for almost every issue that the Lab participants are facing and have faced. The depth and breadth of this impact production guide also offers plenty of space for lab participants to find additional references or dive deeper into specific topics.

5. Progress is slow but constant

Ensuring that your video initiatives create better impact for involved communities takes a lot of time and consideration, whether it’s empowering an affected community to co-create videos, creating a film about an existing environmental issue, strategising for impact, or defining your audiences and creating the messages that appeal to them. Even more time-consuming and challenging is getting all those involved aligned, ensuring a film will connect and engage with the right audiences.

But if there’s one thing all Lab participants agree on, it’s that positive change doesn’t happen overnight, and dedication is required above all else.

Stay tuned to the Environmental Impact Lab project page for more updates on the video initiatives of our five participants, and to see how they will apply the Lab’s learnings to their works.