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The contagion process starts at the school with the teachers and active parents. Both, the teacher and active parent send personally written letters to other parents. The teacher’s letter states that the school wants children to learn how to lead a sustainable life, and is organizing a club for parents and children to participate together in. The letter appeals to the responsibility of the parents and invites them to join the club. On the other hand, the active parent’s letter also invites the other parents to join, appealing to the parental values. Simultaneously, a few billboards in the neighborhood show pictures of children from the neighborhood, along with a picture showing their aspirations for the future and a call to action. These act as a conversation starter –“why is xyz’s son on the billboard?”, building curiosity amongst parents.

Once a few parents have agreed, the teachers, children and parents form a club, and have weekly / monthly meetings. They are given a starter kit which outlines different activities they can do together. For example, DIY projects, cooking classes, team projects, parents take up responsibilities and teach new sustainable life skills to children based on their own expertise (gardening, reusing things etc.). Further, children are harbingers of change, where they go door to door and check people’s energy consumption as a part of a school project. They monitor monthly progress of households and give out badges to households that meet particular energy goals. Children provide tips and tricks, or even invite people into their club. They teach others about greener energy alternatives through weekly postcards. While these activities improve the comprehension amongst the residents, it can also instill the urgency to act – where the children are leading the change.

example 2

Active residents in apartment complexes send out letters to their neighbors asking for help to figure out how to go about the energy transition, since they have similar houses. Under the ‘Beter een goede buur dan een verre vriend’ campaign, neighbors form self-help groups. Each group receives a checklist of things they need to know, sources of information and activities they can do to find out the specifics of the energy transition. They are given tasks like uploading picture of their houses to get advice on technical feasibility, participate in puzzles and quizzes (which are designed to be myth-busters) to get information in a fun way, have role-playing / market days, organize a group utensils buying drive, meet with other stakeholders and experts, share experiences and concerns etc.

Further, the members can have a joint energy saving bank account, such that people push each other to save up or set collective goals. All the activities are grouped into different levels. It is a competition between different neighborhood groups, wherein the winners gets additional discounts apart from the other group benefits. The progress of different groups is shown as leader boards in the streets. Further, to indicate the progress / participation of a group, they get different color street lights or lit benches outside their houses. This further becomes a talking point for the neighborhood, building curiosity amongst non-participants. Last, the members also support each other while the actual renovation/ installation of the heat network happens – like a buddy system – provide each other’s meals for those days, take care of children etc.

Example 3

The contagion starts with front-runners in the community like the reverend, gym owner, local councilor etc. The front-runners compete with each other and each of them flags a campaign #joinmyteam. They persuade the residents to join their energy teams. Once somebody joins a team, they get a team kit with team merchandise and a QR code to join the ‘Reyeroord neighborhood app’. The resident needs to make a profile (can add an avatar /pictures etc). Each week, the residents get new tasks to complete. With each completed task, they get higher profile ratings. The aim is to have maximum number of people in one’s team, and to have the best avg. profile rating scores.

The app also shows a regular feed, which provides bite-sized content about the energy transition. One also sees other people’s profiles, can add them as friends and invite them to join their team, chat on the platform, or compete head-on. Live feed from the app is broadcasted on screens in the streets. After few months, the team with strongest avg. profile rating wins. The winners get additional discounts on the energy transition, or free gym membership for some months.

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