Demoday #19 - Impact Story 15%GasTerug

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We had the pleasure of diving into the impact story of 15%GasTerug during the Amsterdam Smart City Demodag on the 23rd of March. This action network has been working hard to achieve the goal of 15% gas usage reduction since the war in Ukraine broke out. They reached this goal in January this year and would now like to make their impact more visible to the public.

Therefore Laetitia Stuijt from Amsterdam Economic Board and Sylvester van der Horst from the City of Amsterdam initiated this workshop, supported by Remco Marinus from Havaz Lemz as moderator. Together with the Amsterdam Smart City network we dove into the following sub questions:

  • What kind of impact does 15% gas reduction entail?
  • How do you present this impact to the public?
  • How do you maintain and continue this impact?

To start off, Remco showed the group an example of how Diabetesfonds presented the impact of their sugar reduction campaign as a comparison and inspiration. We were shown different headlines and a campaign video. Properly inspired, the group continued the workshop by brainstorming about possible newspaper headlines on 15%GasTerug. It was interesting to see and learn how these headlines could have different scopes; focussing on the financial/economic aspect, sustainability or the social/human behaviour aspect.

A selection from the headlines:

  • “The thermostat also stays below 19 this winter!”
  • “Henk doesn’t have to shut down greenhouse due to smart energy savings!”
  • “15% less means 150% profit”
  • “Energy usage continues to decrease”

As an interesting reflection, Bas Ruis from FIXbrigade brought up how the unwanted shut off of gas at certain households might have contributed to the reduction. Remco proposed that that could also be an angle for a news article. 15%GasTerug could connect their impact story to reasons such as this one for the continuation of their work; using the “human interest” scope.

After a short discussion the group was challenged to list the different components of the accompanying press release and the necessary impact data to support this. This showed us what kind of data is necessary and available and how you transform this into a newsworthy piece. Remco mentioned that it would be ideal to have a dashboard with the impact data supporting the press release.

As the final part of the workshop we flipped our perspective and were asked to think of possible critique we could receive on the news articles. The group came up with reactions such as “What a leftish nonsense! My energy bill is 400 euro a month and there is a lot of draught in my home, but I can’t do anything about it. Thanks housing cooperation.” Following, we had to think of appropriate replies.

This final exercise really made us think about the missing pieces in the press releases and our approach. Remco showed us how by criticizing yourself you can call out the “shadow” of your work. By thinking of a possible reply on this critique you can look at what you do from another perspective and improve your work. This exercise might make you realise that the initial headlines and press releases you thought of, actually won’t work and lead you back to step 1.

Walking through the steps above is useful if you’re stuck or if you’re going into multiple directions while working on something. The approach of this workshop helped to bring focus into the impact and results of 15%GasTerug. Laetitia and Sylvester will present the outcome of this workshop to the action network group. Together with Green Business Club, MRA, Duurzaamheidsraad and Platform 02025 – the other parties taking part in the action network – they will work out the continuation of 15%GasTerug and the presentation of the impact and keep us updated through the platform!