Active Listening, Materiality and Map of Affections

Active Listening, the Materiality Matrix and the Map of Affections are working tools that guide most of our projects. These tools make it possible to design a new collectively imagined reality in partnership with those creating and living in the territories we work in. Thus, a powerful synergy is born, the very force that has kept Raízes alive for so long.

For us, it is essential to “dream together” with our beneficiaries at all stages, from the beginning to the end of the project. To this end, we use Active Listening, the Materiality Matrix and the Map of Affections as our “sense organs”, i.e. the eyes, ears and mouths – of this complex system formed by the communities we collaborate with and their experiences.

Active listening: an exercise in respect, empathy and connection

One of the principles of Raízes is to focus on people, understand how they live, and, most importantly, how they experience their reality.

In our vision, in all initiatives, it is essential to create a safe environment in which participants can trust us and  also each other.

For this project phase, we choose to work with the Theory U,  developed by the German Otto Scharmer, Professor of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Business School).

This methodology is focused on dealing with complex problems which need a   thorough investigation of reality for change to happen, involving participants from different sectors.

We discuss Theory U in more detail here.


Powerful Synergy of Materiality Matrix

The Materiality Matrix is a design made with one axis representing the interests of the proposing company or institution and, the other, the interests of the surrounding community and/or other important stakeholders in the project . It functions as an intersection point of the two, creating a significant synergy. It is at this convergence that social corporate responsibility projects flow well.

We take as an example the MAC (Minas de Águas Claras) Project, with Vale’s initiative and implementation by Raízes. We listened to various stakeholders, organization directors, the local community, people from civil society, public authorities, universities, etc. We included the opinion of various participants with different profiles and roles, inserted in the same reality they share –  but with different looks and interests.

Thus, the Materiality Matrix seeks not only to listen, but also to map what is considered important by the greater number of individuals involved in the process.

Map of Affections that tracks the paths of success

Our best example of the effectiveness of the Map of Affections is the project we developed in 2019, in Barrão de Cocais, Minas Gerais. We carefully listened to the people evacuated  due to the activation of the safety siren of the Gongo Soco dam.

The activities developed by Raízes aimed to understand and map the characterization of the links and feelings of the evacuated population with the territory, and the exploration of their expectations regarding the future; hence the importance of the Map of Affections, through which we obtain a qualitative diagnosis of how people relate to their territory and also amongst themselves.

From the insights we collected through interviews and focus groups, we developed a series of individual and group conversations. Thus, we were able to better understand the emotional context of how those people were affected by the eviction of the area.

Therefore, a Map of Affections is nothing more than a large plan made collaboratively by people who gradually reveal one by one their bonds and memories in relation to the life they have led and how they feel about  that experience. It is at this moment that the company manages to have much more qualitative than quantitative information.

Here at Raízes Sustainable Development, we act as a director of actions or a consultancy at different levels depending on what it takes to achieve the expected result. Contact us to learn more about our proposals for your business!

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