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During late 2016, I had the opportunity to talk with Greenpeace leaders and activists from six continents about the Mobilisation Lab, a remarkable and remarkably successful effort to spark change from within a long-standing activist institution.

An internal department created to build organizational strength in "people-powered" campaigning and digital skills, the MobLab has inspired me since its founding. Through a combination of storytelling, trust-building, design thinking and rigorous humility, the MobLab team and the Greenpeace leaders supporting them seemed to me to have created a better model for organizational change—especially for digital advocacy—than most of the other initiatives I've seen in my 20 years watching non-profits and big brands try to keep up with evolving tools and behaviors.

I don’t have a biting analysis to sum up the 2016 election or the handful of days since then. And I especially can’t speak with the voice of an immigrant, or a person of color, or a woman, or a member of the LGBTQ community, since I belong to none of those groups.

But seeing the acute anger and fear among my loved ones and colleagues in communities targeted during the campaign—people facing political threats, verbal assaults and most of all physical violence even as you read this—I’ve felt grief-stricken and confused. I’m writing not to tell you about my grief (which isn’t that interesting and has the luxury of being felt from comparative safety) but about my confusion.

Which do we want, the kind of leader that tells an angry crowd to accept dissent and focus on what's important, or the kind of leader whose angry crowd attacks the dissenter (then makes up a lie about his intentions and affiliations later)?

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