The Art of Green Jujitsu: Pass Notes
The Art of Green Jujitsu animation has been going great guns – viewed by more than 750 people in just one week. I hinted last week that there was much more to the clip than may initially meet the eye, so here’s my equivalent of Brodie’s Notes:
1. Look and Feel
A lot of people have likened the animation to The Story of Stuff, but a stronger influence was Unilever’s Value Chain animation with its subtle humour, simplistic figures and jaunty feel. Overall, I wanted to get the message across without beating people over the head, but by making them laugh instead – classic Green Jujitsu. This was brilliantly realised by the animator, Matt Shaw of Pixel House Media.
2. Opening Scenes
Our protagonist, whom I have since christened Barry Greene, is outside and not part of the team. He cannot understand why the busy team of brain-boxes would leave all their lights on when they leave the room and tries to change their behaviour with a ‘switch it off’ sticker. When this is ignored he gets piqued and makes a bigger sticker which gets ignored again – he gets quite angry. This, sadly, is all too common – sustainability people assuming their colleagues are stupid for ‘not getting it’ – a highly counterproductive mindset.
3. The Poster
As shouting louder with the stickers plainly isn’t working, Barry goes for the guilt trip – “Save the Polar Bear”. Then he realises his message will be competing for attention with dozens of other posters and their messages, and anyway, his colleagues run straight past him, ignoring him and knocking him over. He loses it completely – he has tried everything, but nothing has worked. This despair will be familiar to many of us, but again it is counterproductive.
4. The Epiphany
Things change for Barry when he bothers to look and see what the team are rushing to do. When he peeks into the room he sees they thrive in a group problem solving environment and realises this is his opportunity.* By aping this for “good green ideas”, he gains the attention and buy in of the team – and a great list of ideas. This is the crux of Green Jujitsu – work with the prevailing culture, not against it.
* The switching off of the metaphorical lightbulb is one of the few bits that I didn’t script and it’s the bit people laugh at most!
5. The Pay Off
As the last of the team leaves the room, she stops and switches off the light. This is meant to be a metaphor for buy-in rather than an end in itself (this is why Barry rolled up the list of ideas – he’s inspired by the team to do more than just get the lights switched off now.)
The final message “Involve People To Make Your Green Communications Stick” was scripted by Matt. At first I thought it was too narrow for all that I was trying to say, but I couldn’t think of a way of communicating all that in such a simple, zippy line. Eventually I decided that if viewers took away just Matt’s conclusion then the whole exercise would be more than worthwhile. This is another Green Jujitsu principle – keep it simple.