#InnovatingFreedomStories in South Asia

Insights and Outlook about the Future of Storytelling
Liberal Video Bootcamp 2019
© Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

In an effort to lead from the front, FNF organized a 5-day residential workshop - the third in an annual series of regional workshops - from October 14-19 in Bengaluru, India. 30 individuals representing members of liberal organizations from South Asian countries, Peru, Belgium, Jordan, South Africa and Hong Kong came together to discuss new techniques and technologies that can be used to promote liberal stories. Bengaluru, the venue for the workshop, is amongst the top ten technology hubs globally and the premier start-up hub of South Asia. 

Innovation enables individuals and organizations to adapt to waves of change brought by demographic, geopolitical and technological shifts. Liberals have profound interest in understanding these trends as they seek progress in all dimensions. They need to be avant-garde to make these trends accessible to all stakeholders. This includes not just thinking what new technologies can offer, but also using them to promote freedom through digital platforms.


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As the creative innovation platform for the social communication of freedom, the Regional Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (FNF) in New Delhi believes that innovation must be linked to a compelling story and communicated using appropriate tools and platforms. Powerful experiences create a desire to engage and do new things. The emergence of extended reality technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality together with new social media platforms are brand new avenues to learn, experiment, and communicate our liberal message to the world. Therefore, empowering ourselves with latest communication skills becomes indispensable. 

Reality is the new quality!

Sumaiya Omar, Co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories

‘Reality is the new quality!’, was the message Sumaiya Omar focused on throughout the Bootcamp. Sumaiya, who was the primary moderator of the workshop, is the co-founder of Hashtag Our Stories, a global mobile journalism start-up. She also mentioned that storytelling platforms and formats provide access to diverse content that is ignored by traditional media, and can be shared even with limited technical resources. Thanks to social media platforms, storytelling has been democratized.

The hands-on workshop encouraged storytelling through use of simple technologies like smartphones and free as well as native apps. It aimed to show the participants how to best leverage this new form of communication to produce compelling content. For instance, innovative formats can be used to promote liberal campaigns as compelling stories using a smartphone. The workshop focused on understanding various aspects of content creation and content strategy, including how and why to choose a platform and the types of content to focus on. Content development, especially creating content that is riveting, factually correct and relevant to the audience formed the core of the Bootcamp. Deep insights and analytics shared by the moderators helped the Bootcampers in developing content which is more engaging and connects emotionally to the target audience. 

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The focus of the workshop was on three platforms – IGTV, Instagram Stories, and wearables like Snapchat Spectacles. Another area of focus was usage of apps such as Quik and KineMaster for creating quickly-edited but engaging videos. Discussions on good marketing practices and importance of a content marketing strategy also took centre stage.

Bootcampers also got an opportunity to put their learning to the test and each of the six teams developed a video for one of the three chosen platforms. “Assignments turned out to be a great way to reinforce learning and ensured that knowledge gained is implemented smartly”, mentioned Mihna Zahir, one of the Bootcampers from Women in Tech Maldives.

With the hope that these 30 communication professionals will continue #InnovatingFreedomStories in South Asia and beyond, we believe this project will be successful and have a deep impact in fulfilling our desire to create a free world.