Why do we use the narratives identified in the listening process?


    Why do we use the narratives1 identified in the listening process?

    Narratives1 are the best tool we have for understanding what another person thinks and feels. Narratives1 create empathy, which is vital when bringing different people together in the same room. It means that people who are very different can discover shared values and connect with other local actors and citizens at a personal rather than a professional level.
    At the same time, they can be used to show the impact of the dominant narratives1 in an area and to give the people a more central role.


    What tools can we use to display the narratives1 during a collective interpretation session?

    Several different tools are available but the most effective are the individual and collective ethnographic profiles. These profiles are shared with all the people who participate in a co-creation2 session.


    What is an ethnographic profile?

    It is a simplified representation of people, their main problems and needs. It allows us to translate the information obtained via the listening process into a simpler form which is easier to understand. This can then be used as a basis for collective interpretation and co-creation2.

    The Facilitating Team will prepare the ethnographic profiles that have been identified during the listening process. It is suggested that the ethnographic profiles be accompanied by photographs and quotes which can be read aloud. Other media such as audio or video can also be used.

    There are two types of ethnographic profiles:

    • Individual profiles: these depict individuals with their main problems and needs.

    • Group profiles: these depict a group of people or collective from the community3 with their main problems and needs.


    What format can be used to present an ethnographic profile?


    There are two tools which you can use to help you create the visual display of the ethnographic profile: “Personas” designed by the Danish Design Centre or “Personas” from Nesta.


    How do we work with individual and group ethnographic profiles in a session?

    1. Read the ethnographic profiles.

    2. Think on the needs expressed and adapt details of the profiles, if it comes up or is appropriate.

    3. Choose or write three key words for each ethnographic profile to give a focus to our work.

    4. If necessary, adapt the profiles or create new ones, referring back to the participants.


    Can ethnographic profiles be used in the co-creation2 stage?

    Yes, you can and should refer to the ethnographic profiles during the co-creation2 stage also. It is important that we use them in order to remind ourselves who we are designing for. Not everyone who participates in the listening and collective interpretation will participate in the co-creation2 sessions.



    • Personas” tool designed by the Danish Design Centre.(available in inglés)

    • Personas” tool designed by Nesta. (available in english, and spanish)


    Share with the Learning Community3 the ethnographic profiles developed after the listening process in which you have participated.


    1. Narratives: The perceptions that people and the community have of their own lives. They are subjective and have a major influence on the actions they believe can, or cannot, be carried out.
    2. Co-creation: Community-led process via which solutions are found.
    3. Community: A group of people from a village, region or nation.

Ethnographic profiles developed by the W4P Peru platform. Drawings made by the local painter Gilmar Huamán Huarcaya.