My last episode of the “Stories from the regions” series

It’s an emotion to announce that this is the last episode that I produce of the “Stories from the regions” series. After 42 stories, I’ll leave the production to my team who will continue it in DG REGIO, the Regional and Urban Policy department of the European Commission.

I imagined this series a couple of years ago, before the pandemic, as a pure internal communication initiative. My aim was to make my colleagues aware of what they contribute to every day with their work on EU funds and make them proud of it. This is how I asked them to become mobile journalists for me:

  • To collect with a normal mobile phone the human stories of the beneficiaries of EU funds in the field during their professional trips to the regions of Europe.
  • To record testimonials on how co-funded projects have had an impact on people’s lives.

With the trainees who were directly involved in the initiative and the colleagues, my team created these short videos from the collected material on the ground. Often with extremely variable quality because none of my colleagues are cameramen or journalists.

The goal was not perfection, but the authenticity of the testimonies in the stories.

Over time, the videos proved to carry a message that could also interest people outside our offices, and so we began to publish the video stories on Youtube and share them on the @EUinmyRegion social networks. The success of the episodes on social media is still modest, but the primary objective is not there. The series is primarily an internal communication tool and as such we have mobilised dozens of colleagues around it. They derived recognition, pride for what they do, and were able to better understand the purpose of their work.

All of this would never have been possible without the unconditional support and help of Agnès MONFRET who believed in the series from the start. She encouraged me, and pushed me, to make it evolve. Merci infiniment Agnès! The support of Marc Lemaître, Director-General in DG REGIO, with his motto “communication is everyone’s business” was also an important element in involving our colleagues in the initiative. Thank you Marc.

Thank you to Viktoriia HladiiRamona M Vasile and Marie Stotz the Bluebook trainees who supervised the Stories from the regions initiative during their traineeship in my team, to Corinne Wenner Manuele Franci Miruna Cugler Yves Durinck Alain Vanden Borre and many other colleagues for their support. Thank you to all other colleagues and bluebook trainees in DG REGIO who collaborated on the series.

And finally, A huge thank you and a special mention for my colleague Marc Rodrigues, my Steven Spielberg!
I wish you’ll the best and to continue the series. I will continue to follow you closely.

The series playlist on Youtube, with the new episodes produced since first of March 2022:

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The most common words in Christmas songs

Did you enjoy listening to Christmas songs lately? I did, and I wondered what are the words that come up most often. A few online tools and Procreate and here are the Christmas bells of the most frequent words in Christmas songs.
An imperfect data visualisation.

The most common words in  Christmas songs
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EU values and identities

How EU policymakers can navigate the new societal and political landscape of complex challenges, growing polarisation of groups of citizens, and conflicting opinions?

A report by the EU Science, Research and Innovation says that science alone doesn’t move the policy debate or citizens behaviours. Rather, policymakers should understand the EU citizens’ values and identities, their differences inside a country and among countries, how identities influence values, how being member of different groups (tribes) colour people’s opinions and biases.

This understanding helps to better see what is desired by citizens, what is important for them, and finally to improve policymaking and regain trust in democracy. At the end of his presentation of the report, Mario Scharfbillig mentioned a toolkit to integrate values and identity in policymaking: heightened understanding, co-creation, and communication.

My sketchnotes of Mario’s presentation.

Sketchnotes of a talk on values and identities,  a Guide for policymakers
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There is no compassion without love

Compassion requires motivation, courage and wisdom.

It’s about humility, mindfulness, embodiment and taking action. There is no compassion without love. Bringing compassion in the EU policy-making process will lead to other ways of actively listening to citizens, interacting, co-creating and collaborating with them.

Immense gratitude to Obhi Chatterjee (missing Julie GueganPinuccia Contino Beate Trück Mario Scharfbillig for the workshop.

Sketchnotes of "Compassion, towards a caring culture"
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Inktober21 Inception prompts

My #inktober2021 prompts in an inception video mode. Drawn with fingers and ink on Procreate iPad, mounted on Adobe Premiere, everything quickly.

To say that I didn’t even want to do this Inktober challenge because I was too busy this month with other professional and private commitments. Then I told myself to illustrate the prompt of the day without pressure, just by following my instinct, by drawing with my fingers and a single brush in black ink (membrane) on Procreate / iPad, all quickly. And to facilitate my life, or complicate it depending on the point of view, each day create a new prompt from the previous one.

Finding inspiration quickly for a concept, an idea, a word, is the constant challenge of the graphic recorder/facilitator. Sometimes it helps not to think too much and to connect to his inner creativity. This Inktober challenge helped me put this principle into practice. This is the result with all 31 prompts animated in a “inception-mode” video (mounted quickly on Adobe Premiere). Big thank you to friends who encouraged me, especially friends and members of the sketchnote community.

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