August 17, 2017, 9am–12pm
$149 (half-day)

Landmark room, 3rd floor, Union South (map)

Moira O'Neil, Senior Researcher & Dir of Interpretation, speaker at Better by Design conference.


Moira O’Neil

Senior Researcher & Director of Interpretation, FrameWorks Institute


Moira O’Neal will lead this half-day workshop highlighting lessons learned about how to effectively tell stories for understanding and to drive systems-level social change.

People working to implement policy and systems-level change know that just as having a solid idea isn’t enough to spark change, having a bit of initial momentum isn’t sufficient to sustain it. Large-scale adoption and implementation require public understanding, public will, and even public demand, which in turn, require advocates for change to engage the public.

While stories are central to communicating about social change, not all stories are equally effective. Social science research has found that “episodic stories”–which tell stories from an individual perspective in an attempt to illuminate an issue by personalizing it–lead people to attribute outcomes to the individuals involved rather than to broader systems. By contrast, “thematic stories,” which foreground systemic factors and the role of context, are more successful in helping people understand social problems and their solutions.

In this workshop, participants will be briefly exposed to the underlying empirical approach that informs FrameWorks’s communications recommendations. They will also learn the elements of a well-constructed thematic story that directs an audience toward systemic thinking about underlying causes and foregrounds the role that collective solutions could play.

The workshop will be participatory, moving quickly from structured presentation to interactive group activities, and will provide ample opportunities for participants to begin to apply recommendations to their own communications.


August 17, 2017, 9am–12pm



Welcome & Coffee & Continental Breakfast