Theory of Change

Aug 6, 2018 by

The session “Theory of Change” was given by Nina Thullen and Karin Kublbock. Nina Thullen has been a campaign leader at Greenpeace for 20 years and now is an independent consultant for change projects. Karin Küblbock is an economist with a research focus in international trade and a lecturer in development economics at the University of Vienna.

The session focused on how to design and implement a change project, working towards a possible activist campaign. A great mixture of theory and practice was given in the session which equipped us with practical tools for future actions. We started the morning with outlining the different steps that are required when using the theory on our own projects. To put theory into action we used the case study of the fashion industry. We began the evening prior the session collectively watching the documentary “The True Cost” a film directed by Andrew Morgan focusing on the hardships and pressing issues of the fashion industry today.

We have learned how to formulate a common goal that guides the objectives, strategy and tactics. To insure an effective goal, one must create a vision that is strongly shared by the whole group. Coming in we assumed the having multiple goals in an organization can be beneficial creating a variety of views. However, we quickly understood the benefit of creating a focused united vision. Coming up with our own specific and measurable objectives proved to be a challenge. Learning to use SMART technique (Specific Measurablem, Achievable, Relevant, Timed) in a meaningful way we had a clear guideline to follow. Learning that “the strategy of a campaign is the path way you chose to achieve your goal”. Furthermore, we brainstormed about creative tactics. We especially enjoyed expressing our own ideas among our fellow students in the small group discussions.

We were highly inspired by Nina Thullen sharing her own success stories with us, especially how she was a part of Greenpeace contributing to changing the seafood industry in Europe, showing us that significant change is possible. By teaching us the “Theory of Change” in a very stretchered way they were able to convey an organized method to a usually messy field. As students interested in sustainable and alternative systems we can benefit from the intense session for our future projects and activates.

Written by: Jessica Moeller and Miriam Frank

Based on the lecture held by: Nina Thüllen and Karin Küblböck (“Theory of Change”)