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The Persuasive Power of a Picture

Persuasion and the power of a picture

If you're trying to change an issue and organisation, perhaps a change in culture, practice, or policy, you should get together the stakeholders, make the proposal of what you want to change, and start from there.


There are often dissenters in the ranks when it comes to change and what the possible benefits might be, and they pull out all sorts of excuses.


The best way to persuade them is with proof of why the old way of working is broken. The best way to do this is with some visual material.


Now, this doesn't apply to every project, where you can actually demonstrate why the current way of doing things is wrong with a picture, but it does apply to some, if not most.

chait.jpgTake a seat as we go through the example of reuse assets. This item was pulled out of a skip which was in the car park in a civic centre in an organisation which was also making staff redundant. 

Daniel’s discussion

Warp It’s founder, Daniel, is constantly talking to experts and professionals around the globe to better understand the needs of internal recycling and reuse projects. Here’s a recent anecdote:

“I was talking to Jonathan Latko, the Head of Computer Recycling at Temple University in the US,  I asked him for his advice on how he got a buy-in from obstructors, from people who weren't supporting or hadn’t bought into his reuse programme. He came back with a great answer:

'If you go into any large organisation which has thousands of staff, you will often see that that the organisation has some sort of waste disposal yard, where all items go to die. If you can get access to that disposal yard, you will find in the skips or dumpster, or on a loading bay, certain assets that are completely reusable, that are stood out in the dump, in the cold, all alone, by themselves, waiting to be dumped. Or you might even be lucky (not in a good way!)  to see those same items in the skip of a dumpster.' He took photos and used them to his advantage.”

Don’t place blame

If you see a scenario such as the one described above, you need to take photos, as they are the perfect illustration of a broken system in your organisation. Go to the yard, or wherever the furniture and assets are going to die, and snap away! Show them to the Finance Officer and CFO and they will have a freak out. These are purchased assets being thrown away, often with a disposal cost attached! They will ask, ‘Why is this happening?’ and the simple answer is that there’s no communication. This is not a hard thing to fix. Just don’t lay the blame on anyone in particular, especially not the custodials, or porters, for they are just following orders.

keyboards waste type reuse recycling disposal

This type of waste is shocking. These items were located in a waste yard, in an organisation recieving public funds and making staff redundant. 

By not placing blame on a particular department, entity or team, you can reiterate your position that the system as a whole is broken and has failed. This is going to help you push through your project. Show these photos to the finances, facility management and procurement committees, they’re all going to be mortified by the visual justification of your claims. If you want additional help, get the porters on your team and ask them to send you photos any time they take furniture down to the bins/dumpsters. It might take a box of sweets to do the trick!

What about for other campaigns?

Say, for example, you’re doing an energy campaign, where you want people to turn their lights off to save energy, or to convince the facilities department to switch to LED lights (10x cheaper). Stay late at work and take photos of the buildings with their lights left on, and imagine how much impact that could have when you show it to the Chief Financial Officer! Add a bold statement like ‘a thousand people work in this building, and right now there’s only ten inside, using enough light for five hundred. Can you see the issue?’.


These items are boxed and unused and worth about £70 each. They were taken out of a skip, in an organisation recieving public funds and making staff redundant. 

The same can be applied to loads of ideas, like introducing changes to the car park. Take photos of poorly or dangerously parked cars, or show how many employees have to park off the grounds and in the local community because the spaces are designed poorly and require improvement.

Want to introduce smart working? Just take a pics of the messiest desks in your office! Want to introduce work from home. Take a visual pic of traffic in your city showing congestion at certain times. You can see what we mean right?!

Use your smartphone to enforce smart changes.

PS, the proof is in the pudding! Daniel has just shared the following anecdote. “I was at a big customer’s premises yesterday, talking about maximising the impact of their reuse program. They were talking about getting more senior buy in. So I thought about Jonathan's tip. We went to the bottom of the main building and sought out the waste disposal area. This is what we found. 4 unopened boxes of inkjet cartridges- worth £100 each. A number of keyboards, a bit old and used, but someone could have had them instead of the skip. 2 perfectly fine operators chairs and the pièce de résistance, 2 flat screen TVs that were virtually new!!”


2 flat screen smart TVs. Someone could not bare to put them in the skip so stacked them like this in a car park in a public sector organisation. 

We took the pictures that you have seen throughout this article. Have you seen something similar in your organisation?


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Joseph Kennedy

Joseph Kennedy

My journey is education, communication and innovation. My destination is a world free from environmental collapse, ecological ruin and unbreathable air.


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