Looking at some of the projects which you believe were the most impactful to audiences (small or large), what structure or layers do you believe made them so effective?
Martina: An example that works quite well to me to explain the different profiles and expertise and the sort of unique approach we try to give to projects is a campaign we did with Oxfam (the NGO that tackles inequality) called The Privilege of Choice. In 2019, they basically released the first inequality report that had a multilateral perspective, we knew that we wanted to shift away from a strong but oversimplified economic statement of communicating that 1% of world population have as much wealth as the rest of the 99%, which is a shocking fact but at the same time it's very difficult to position yourself and to understand how this affects you and how it affects the people you know.
So we did two things. One thing was digital experience and the other one was a physical experience, like a life experience. The first standing point was we don't want to tell them all these realities, we want to speak with them. We want to listen to them and we want to start a conversation where we first listen about their daily lives and then we can provide certain information that we wouldn't want to overwhelm them with too many facts.
We created this digital experience that whenever anyone would enter inside the website and start the conversation. They would be asked, “hey, what's your name?” And then you would answer with your name the website would answer, “look, in Spain, there's so many people with the same name.”
It would continue to ask you about different aspects of your life, such as how many books you had at home when you were a child and what, which was the name of your favorite book. And then you remember your childhood, your home, the bookshelf and you would say, this was my favorite book. This is when you would discover that people with less than 20 books at home their children will most likely not finish a high school education.
You start discovering facts and facts based on the sort of inputs you would give from your personal life, whenever you would answer there was an index that was being calculated with the measurements from the real study and at the end you would discover your privilege index, influenced by your gender, political participation, education and many other factors. And you would discover what does it mean to live under this level? What does it mean for the rest of the 30% of the Spanish population who live under this level?
What is it to live there? And then you could take actions to contribute to the fight against inequality in different ways. So that was the digital action.
What are some projects that were less effective, and why do you think so? What would you do to make them more effective?
Martina: At Domestik, one of my initial interactive projects focused on raising awareness about water consumption. I recall reviewing the first content draft with Axel, the head of strategy and formerly the head of research, as well as one of the founding partners. Despite our long hours, working until 11 pm almost daily, it was important that our content was engaging. As we reviewed the content, Axel remarked, "Martina, we need to have fun. And people need to have fun going through this." His comment shifted our perspective. We began to scrutinize each piece of information, asking ourselves: "How would you pose this question to a friend? How would you approach someone if you wanted them to enjoy answering, to learn, to be surprised, or to think of someone they love?”
I think that's the first time in one of my interviews that someone mentions play. That someone needs to have fun if possible, especially covering these topics, to make difficult topics interesting. It's been confirmed through research that play is when we memorize the best, it's when we're most creative, it's when we make the most associations, it's when we're the most engaged.
Martina: Definitely. And I think I would even go one step further. I think it's not only about thinking how to bring play within the project and the interaction with the final audience, but it's very important to play while creating. And it would have been absolutely different if back in that moment Axel would tell me, send me an email saying, Martina, people need to have fun while doing this. Then... sitting together and saying, okay, come on, let's have fun doing this. You know? And, and I think this is one, like, this is one of the biggest lessons I've learned,
If you were talking to an independent journalist interested in trying visualization on an investigation, what are some important lessons you’d want to share?
Martina: People want to be heard. They wish to express their opinions, especially when the questions are relevant and make them think about something intriguing. If a question sparks a new chain of thoughts, it can lead to a meaningful conversation and help them discover something new.
In the two projects I mentioned, we successfully built a conversational flow, giving and taking information incrementally, taking participants to unexpected place which immersed them even further.
Are there any other important lessons you'd want to share?
Martina: Whenever like you miss the opportunity for diversity with either the client or internally as a team, then it's a missed chance to make the project richer in many senses. It's true that in large teams there can be a lot of bad decisions that can take you to a huge waste of time, but sometimes going too fast alone is also waste of time. Sometimes not listening to the right people, to the diversity of people within the right moment of the project is a waste of time. And we face this internally and with clients. I think about our work as if we would be like an orchestra, and we would be like all creating this beautiful masterpiece. And if we all play at the same time, it's a f-ing mess. But if we manage well to play in harmony, it can sound beautiful and that's a constant challenge.