Story Workshop: Greenpeace Canada

This workshop was part of a wider team retreat that was aimed at creating a space for team building and as well as introducing the team to some new concepts and processes. With the team building objective in mind, we designed the story workshop to be interactive, engaging and playful with lots of opportunity for the team to work together in smaller groups and to be heard and seen by one another.

Made by Lucy, Amrekha, Laura and friends at Greenpeace.


While planning this workshop, we discussed 3 challenges Greenpeace Canada was facing that we could potentially apply the lens of story to. We aimed to build the last two of these into the workshop.

  • Legal challenge: Canada was being sued by a logging company for $7 million and needed to increase leverage over the next 7 months. From a story perspective, this has been challenging for the team as it’s been a tale of David and Goliath, which can sound self interested. We needed to try to tie it to a bigger story with more longevity.
  • Election: Canada’s federal election was coming up. This was an important opportunity because people were disaffected with the current administration. It would tie together many areas of our work. We could use the election as an opportunity to tell a united story of what Greenpeace Canada is about.
  • Arctic and Tar Sands: These are two big campaigns. Tar sands is an oil extraction project that is one of the centerpieces of Canada’s economic growth plan and is a top political issue. The Arctic is a newer campaign, not yet a big news story. The two are highly related. Canada needed help connecting the dots between these two campaigns.

    Primary Objectives

    The primary aim of the story workshop is to introduce team Canada to the new Greenpeace Story and the organisational shifts it implies (The Seven Shifts), and work with the group to help them think about what would mean for a new Greenpeace Canada. And to do this in a way that is engaging, fun and helps the group to bond and connect as a team.

    Pre-work for the Workshop

    We asked participants to think of one example of a story, a trend, an event, or an anecdote that gives them hope that a better world is possible. We asked them to reach beyond Greenpeace's work into things that are either changing, or have the potential to change, the fabric of the world or which are rerouting our future away from the status quo and toward a more beautiful, sustainable, greener, more peaceful world. We explained that we would be running an exercise in which we may ask participants to pitch their example in a ONE MINUTE, lightning-fast presentation of WHAT the example is and WHY it gives you hope.

    How to use this agenda

    This page lists the learning objectives and overview of each day. Use the links below to find descriptions for individual exercises. If you get stuck, reach out to Laura Hilliger, the Greenpeace Story Team or come to a community call!

    Day 1: Project Buy in and Understanding the Story

    Why story? Why now? Aligning the group on where this work has come from and why it’s important. Introducing the narrative and the shifts and ensuring people understand it.

    1. Coffee and Socializing (40 minutes)
    2. Hello, welcome and rules of the road. (20 minutes)
    3. Story of My Name (60 minutes)
    4. Break (20 mins)
    5. Why story? Why now? Set the context for the story project. Where it’s come from and why it’s important. (25 mins)
    6. Reimagining Greenpeace as an Epic Global Story Presentation (30 mins)
    7. Spectrogram: Initial Reactions (15 mins)
    8. Discussion: 1, 2, 4, ALL (30 mins)
    9. Story in a Tweet (15 mins)
    10. 1 hour Lunch
    11. Telling the Tale (60 mins)
    12. Break (15 mins)
    13. 7 Shifts Presentation and discussion (60 mins)
    14. Stop, Start, Steroids (60 mins)
    15. Closing circle: What was your "Ah ha!" moment from today? A thought, a phrase, an idea? (15 mins)
    16. Bonus: Read the Land at the Back of the Moon together (30 mins)

    Day 2: Playing with and applying the narrative

    Giving the group an opportunity to play with the narrative and interpret it in a way that makes sense to them. Bringing the narrative to life and determining what the story looks like in Canada and how we could use it in the face of the challenges Canada is facing.

    1. Coffee and Socializing (60 minutes)
    2. Opening Circle: Overnight reflections. Ask participants to use only 5 Words to describe how they're feeling (60 mins)
    3. Small Group Work (120 mins)
    4.  1 hour Lunch
    5. Report Outs: The team comes back together and groups present back their work to each other (60 mins)
    6. Break (20 mins)
    7. Story Circles (60 mins)
    8.  My Act of Courage (10 mins)
    9. Closing Circle

    Assessment and review

    Practical tips for assessing learning:
    • Use the discussions in each exercise: Discussion and reflection are important components of learning. Ask questions like:
      • How can your work connect to the 7 Shifts and living the new story?
      • Why is it important to connect to global communities?
      • How does communication online differ from communication offline?
      • What excited you the most about this training? The least?
      • How will we take what we've learned forward?
      • What does it mean to live the story?
      • Where can we go for help?
    • Peer Assessment: Have people look at one another's work and give each other constructive feedback. Hold each other accountable for participation, and encourage open discussion with one another.
    • Share: Have you posted your work somewhere? Did you tweet with the #courageis hashtag? Have you attended a Story Community Call?