Phase I engages diverse stakeholders in a replicable collaborative process that unfolds over four steps in a specific geography or region:
- Incubating, and
Through developing context-specific narratives at the national level, participants gain new visibility into the evolving local, national, trans-national, and global drivers of digital disinformation, and their widespread implications for social cohesion, resilience, and preparedness in their own contexts.
In Phase I, the resulting scenarios will inform context-specific strategies and catalyse new action for addressing such challenges.
Step 1: Learning
Stakeholders participate in a contextualised introduction to the dynamics, vocabulary, and key questions related to disinformation and social cohesion, and learn about experiences across sectors.
There is a wide variation in awareness and understanding about disinformation across different actors, groups, and contexts.
As experts attest, this is in part due to the rapid and continuous evolution of the dynamics concerned, the newness of the fields involved in understanding them and, importantly, the effective translation of what is known for public use.
There is also variation in the awareness and understanding of the social dynamics involved and implicated. This is in part due to the very limited research focusing on the social dimensions of disinformation, such as its relationship to social cohesion and how this plays out in different social and cultural contexts around the world.
We have observed that the value of bringing diverse groups of stakeholders together around these complex issues is often limited by the need to address these differences in awareness and understanding for participants. Therefore, Shared Realities begins with a Learning Phase to build awareness and understanding and to support all partipants in taking part in discussions in a meaningful and informed way.
In the Learning phase, expert advisers from across a spectrum of disciplines and approaches will connect with participants though an on-line platform to address the question: What do people need to know to meaningfully explore how we can shift the loop?
This curriculum is envisioned to grow over time, and the platform intended to be available on an on-going basis to people across geographies.
Step 2: Exploring
The Shared Realities Project applies Transformative Scenarios Process to develop narratives of the future in diverse geographical contexts around the world.
We believe the story about social cohesion and disinformation can be most effectively told and understood first at the national or regional levels.
This provides meaningful scope and context for understanding both how global drivers play out in local contexts and how local vulnerabilities influence outcomes, as well as for envisioning what kind of action is needed in response.
Through developing context-specific narratives at the national level, participants will gain new visibility into the evolving local, national, trans-national, and global drivers of digital disinformation, and their widespread implications for social cohesion, resilience, and preparedness in their own contexts.
The resulting scenarios will inform context-specific strategies and catalyse new action for addressing such challenges..
Step 3: Incubating
Following the scenario development, stakeholders will participate in an iterative design process to move from scenarios to action.
Based on the opportunities and threats highlighted in the scenario narratives, they will identify priority leverage areas for impact, develop gamechanging strategies, and test and refine prototype ideas for collaborative solutions for their own contexts, drawing upon examples from other contexts.
Collaborative prototyping teams will be coached through the iterative process of thoroughly designing, developing and assessing their solutions and to identify the right moment to take their prototype ideas into the real world. They will be accompanied as they try out these prototype solutions in a cycle of consultation, experimentation, assessment, and revision. Special attention will be given to the collaborative process and capabilities required for them to sustain their collaboration to be impactful.
At this point, they will also invite new stakeholders to join as well beyond the original Scenario Teams.
Step 4: Communicating
In order to fully harness the power of scenarios for shifting mindsets and narratives, and creating new language for the future, the scenarios must be shared with a much wider public than only those who participated in creating them. The communication and dissemination process is thus an integral part of the initiative and will be designed by the participating stakeholders.
In this final step, stakeholders will develop strategic communication outputs (videos, blogs/articles, visuals) and channels (events, dialogues, social media, websites) to amplify the impact of the project, and to promote dialogue, debate, and learning both around the scenarios and around the prototype solutions. These materials will be developed in local languages.
Through this phase of communicating and reflecting on the outputs, the process will likely catalyse further partnerships and actions. Such activities will be up to the participating stakeholders to develop. They cannot be foreseen or planned in advance and are not necessarily organized by or seen as part of the SRP as such.