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Greenpeace East Asia: People, Process, and Technology Alignment


Greenpeace East Asia is the East Asian regional branch of Greenpeace—a global non-governmental environmental organization that draws attention to significant environmental threats, with non-violent direct action, and lobbies for solutions. It is located in China and is one of the largest international NGOs in the country.

The organization had recently invested in technology upgrades and added additional headcounts, in a bid to transform their work processes. However, the organization’s leadership faced challenges with driving the transformation as quickly and effectively as they desired.

To help address the situation, we were approached and brought on board by the organization’s Deputy Executive Director and leader of its transformation initiative, Cristina San Vicente.


In a meeting with Cristina, we learned that she was doing a lot of heavy lifting to make Greenpeace East Asia's digital transformation successful but was getting a bit stuck due to several collaborative and integration issues. The organization needed an effective technology stack and more skilled workers to operate and manage them.

Additionally, Greenpeace East Asia needed to develop more workflows to make the integration of its planned digital transformation quicker and more seamless. The organization’s teams and managers also needed to change their mindset and behavior toward the new ways of working together.


We executed the project in partnership with Generate_Impact—a digital tech company that provides digital solutions to support humanitarian organizations. After assessing their situation, we concluded that Greenpeace East Asia needed an unconventional approach to solving its digital transformation challenges.

Our approach was to analyze their challenges from the inside out. It is similar to looking through the other end of a telescope. Using this approach, we learned that Greenpeace East Asia’s main challenge was not about optimizing its technology stack but aligning the mindset and behavior of its leaders and teams to make the optimization they needed successful and productive.

Usually, organizations and businesses seeking digital transformation often conduct the process based on the capabilities of the new solutions they are considering. However, for the digital transformation of Greenpeace East Asia, we decided to help facilitate it based on how it would affect its leaders and teams, individually and collectively.


We used the WakeMake Framework to plan the project ahead of time with Cristina and her team within two months via six facilitated online co-creation sessions. After that, we kickstarted the project, working with five teams, across four markets and six timezones, within three months, from start to finish.

We carried out the project in four phases:

  • Phase One
    Analyzing the situation through one-on-one stakeholder interviews and studying existing documentation, then turning interview findings into an insight report.
  • Phase Two
    Aligning the perspectives of the organization’s leadership towards a collective vision for overcoming its digital transformation challenges.
  • Phase Three
    Enabling shared ownership of the organization’s digital transformation plans among its leaders and teams.
  • Phase Four
    Collectively planning for possible obstacles to the project, outcomes to expect, sorting priorities on best actions to take, and developing a roadmap for the digital transformation.


Leveling the Playing Field and Improving Work Behavior

There was a positive change in the behavior of the leaders and teams towards their respective roles and the organization’s planned digital transformation. According to Cristina, the organization’s Deputy Executive Director, these changes were what she had been trying to make in the organization for years.

Rebecca Scelly, a project manager from Greenpeace East Asia, shared similar feedback as Cristina about noticing people changing their behaviors after participating in WakeMake’s sessions. Rebecca also attested to how everyone on the team engaged each other and spoke out more whenever they had valuable contributions to make.

Giving Clarity and Direction

Business transformations are often very complex and come with various challenges. For most people experiencing a business transformation for the first time, as the challenges start to show, it can be difficult to choose which one to tackle first. This issue was one of the things we ensured we addressed with this project, and we were successful.

According to the feedback from Cristina and the other participants, the collaboration sessions gave them clarity and direction on how to prioritize and tackle challenges based on their level of complexity. They also testified to learning how to prioritize and tackle challenges as they come without disrupting their workflow.

Cultivating a positive leadership mindset

Another significant result the project produced was helping the leaders cultivate a positive mindset in their leadership. Change is difficult for most people, but the change that comes with digital transformation is often more challenging and requires everyone on board to broaden their knowledge to learn and implement quick and effective ways of adapting.

While working on this project, we were able to help the organization’s leaders develop a collective vision through radically inclusive and collaborative sessions that we facilitated. We then translated it into a change roadmap. Everyone participated 100% and shared their ideas on ways to change their mindset to enable them to work better together and lead their teams towards making the transformation successful.

Adoptions of additional ways of working

Given that the teams we worked with spread across different timezones, we recommended various online tools to enable them work better together, which they tried and adopted for regular use. One of the tools we introduced them to was Miro, a visual collaboration board, which is great for both remote and hybrid work.

We also introduced them to the "Listening to learn” concept, which involves focusing more on finding and learning about the root causes of their challenges and developing custom solutions to fix them instead of applying random solutions that never really solved the underlying problems. According to Cristina, this was one of the most impactful takeaways for her from the project.

Moving Forward

At the end of the project, we delivered a 60-page comprehensive report and six visual boards documenting all our progress. They contained everything we worked upon and all the input made by all participants to help further increase accountability and shared ownership of the organization’s transformation goals.

That said, transforming an organization or business is an evolving process that takes time to fully manifest and won’t happen after just a few workshops. We continues to support the continuous development of the collaborative problem-solving skills of Greenpeace East Asia’s leaders and teams and future transformation initiatives.