This is really interesting. It’s crouched behind whatever the opposite of a come-on title is – it’s called The Power of Asset-Based Approaches – but it is fascinating. The core of it, or at least the core that immediately appeals to me, is that taking stock of what and who you’ve got produces better results than you all bitching about what problems you have to solve.
Do you know, when you put it that way…
Writer Donnie Maclurcan puts it differently:
The underlying message is that when we start by exploring people’s strengths, we value people as human beings. When applied to community development, the asset-based approach is one of the most powerful ways to mobilize for social change because it proposes that everyone has something to offer and therefore everyone is needed. It shifts thinking to building from opportunities rather than responding to problems, and in the case of group processes it reduces the kinds of participant fears that often lead to unhealthy behaviours (such as power plays and passive aggressive behaviour). Equipped with such knowledge, groups can then move forward in a respectful, highly productive way with the work that attracted their member’s involvement in the first place.
The asset-based principle is also transferable to project planning. When you design a project that starts by highlighting its participants’ strengths, user uptake rapidly increases. Similarly, an article that starts with positives or neutral facts will draw-in and retain more readers than one that starts with a controversial opening statement, even if that controversial statement appears later on in the article. Highlighting this phenomenon in the real world, the U.K. sustainability communications agency Futerra compiled a 2009 report demonstrating just how important it is for climate organizations to begin their arguments and reports by ‘selling the sizzle’, i.e., focusing on what’s going well.
Read the full piece, I recommend it. And thanks to Angela Gallagher for the heads up.