Greenpeace to launch global digital innovation lab; hires Michael Silberman, online pioneer, to lead initiative
by Phil Radford
July 20, 2011
Michael Silberman, the brain behind the “Meetup” grassroots organizing strategy used by Howard Dean’s presidential campaign and co-founder of digital consultancy EchoDitto, is joining Greenpeace to launch a new, global digital mobilization lab. The Lab will be a dynamic, forward-looking space that will work with Greenpeace and allies in 42 countries to envision, test, and roll out creative new means of communicating, organizing, and fundraising online.
Digital innovation – how we use mobile phones, tablets, email, and other technologies – will happen at the edges of organizations and networks. The Lab is designed to serve as a collaborative hub among networks – inside and outside of Greenpeace – to find, test, and push the envelope on the use of technology in campaigns. Greenpeace’s global reach into 42 markets, from China to India to Brazil to the U.S., will surface creative new ideas that would not be found in any one country.
The Lab is the latest move in an aggressive investment in digital strategy at Greenpeace, which aims to:
- Empower and inspire activists and supporters to play more central roles in campaigns, both online and offline
- Experiment with new tactics across the digital landscape, from online marketing to fundraising to mobile communications
- Optimize the role of digital strategies in campaign design
- Create a culture of testing, analysis, and listening as the foundation for future success
- Collaborate with other winning campaigning organizations to share best practices and lessons learned
- Build a learning environment for Greenpeace’s global network of digital campaigners
Silberman brings more than eight years of experience designing participatory campaigns and strategies for leading organizations around the world to engage individuals in meaningful action. He is a frequent writer and speaker on the effective use of technology for converting online activity into real-world change. Silberman also chairs the Web of Change conference, the premier global gathering for leading thinkers and campaigners at the intersection of technology and social change.
Greenpeace recently hired Kevin Grandia, author of DeSmog Blog and a political communications expert, as the Director of Online Strategy. Ben Kroetz, who had spent the three years previous at Greenpeace building a national network of remote activists and integrating Greenpeace’s Grassroots and Online programs, took on the role of Senior Online Strategist. Dionna Humphrey, who has worked in grassroots advocacy for more than a decade, focusing primarily on online fundraising and advocacy strategies, joined the team as the Senior Email Campaigner.
Greenpeace already has a successful track record leveraging digital strategies for its campaigns. The LA Times called Greenpeace’s recent campaign against Mattel’s package sourcing “a social media battle over the rainforest” when over 180,000 people viewed an animated YouTube video of Ken breaking up with Barbie over her destructive ways.
Last year Greenpeace rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters over Facebook and Twitter to email Nestle about their destructive supply chain. The result was a shift away from deforestation by the world’s largest food and drink company. Back in 2000 Coca-Cola agreed to remove harmful chemicals from its refrigeration equipment – also convincing Unilever and McDonald’s to follow suit – after an online-focused campaign. Apple removed toxic substances from its products after the online public mobilized around the ‘Green My Apple’ campaign.