Two strangers divided by their beliefsp-1-heineken-just-put-out-the-antidote-to-that-pepsi-kendall-jenner-ad

  • Imagine you are 100% feminist,  and you are about to meet someone for whom feminism today is man hating.
  • Imagine you are fighting against climate change and you are meeting someone who believes climate change is absolute piffle.
  • Imagine you are transgender and you are meeting someone for whom transgender is absolutely wrong.

Face to face. Not on FaceBook or Twitter. In flesh. Not the obvious kind of person you would like to have a relaxed chat over a beer with, would you?

This is the experiment that Publicis London has imagined, to design a brilliant ad for Heineken. The film was directed by Toby Dye through RSA. The media agency is Mediavest Spark.

Thanks to Dorothy Dalton who shared this film on Facebook.

Take 4 minutes to watch it.

Why does it matter more than ever today?

The main political problem in post-Brexit UK, as well as post-Trump America, is the depth of our division. People with opposite views believe in their own opinions so vehemently, they’re convinced everyone on the other side is practically from a different species. Making matters worse, these people from opposing sides rarely get to meet each other outside of Twitter @-replies, which are among the most contentious places to be on the planet.

Joe Berkowitz -Fast Company 04-26-17

It matters for me today as a French citizen as far right Le Pen is going to second round on 7 May.

It matters for me today as a facilitator of inclusion and diversity workshops for a more gender-balanced and collaborative workplace.

What is urgently needed in the civil society is also painfully missing at work, especially in the big corporations which are the majority of our clients at Ideas on Stage.

The large corporations are where the power is concentrated and they don’t only drive the economy. They are a political, environmental, and cultural force that is
unavoidable in today’s globalized world.

If we want to change the world, we need to start with where we are, where we each have some influence.

At Ideas on Stage, our motto is « Change the world, one presentation at a time ». More and more, by collaborating with my new colleagues from the Society of Organizational Learning, SOL, founded by Peter Senge at MIT, we want to do it one conversation at a time. I have been co-designing with Antonio Linares, from Madrid, with Etienne Collignon, from Paris and with Ken Homer, from San Francisco several workshops to help you practice the art of collaborative conversations.

« Change the world. …one conversation at a time. »

How to Build Collaborative Conversations today?

As in this experiment, it is a very, very bold idea, coupled with a modest and humble approach.

Let’s have a closer look at the experiment.


It’s a very typical exercise we use in team building and management trainings. The individuals are placed together in a room where they are asked to build a piece of furniture, a sort of IKEA flat pack. They very soon discover that they each have been given the instructions of the other person and they need to collaborate.


Or the true value of establishing common ground.

As Cindy Tervoort, head of marketing at Heineken, says

It is a way for us to inspire more people to focus on the things that unite us rather than divide us. We know we’re never going to agree on everything but there will also be common ground. Whether it’s 1950, 2017 or 2027, being open lets us get more out of life. It makes the world a more interesting place. And it makes every story worth listening to. »

  • What is like to be you in 5 adjectives
  • Name 3 things you and I have in common


The two strangers with opposite beliefs are then asked to build a bar (disclosure: in my long experience as a consultant in human ressources and a facilitator of management trainings, we had participants building bridges rather than bars!)


They are standing next to each other, rather close physically, and asked to watch a short film together. In that film, they learn about each other’s deepest beliefs. The hard truth. You can sense physically how uncomfortable they feel, by the way they glance at each other, by their body language. The urge to separate and walk away is very strong.


You now have a choice. You may go or you can stay and discuss your differences over a beer.

The experiment used in this ad is inspired from social experiments coming from the field of Organizational Behavior (like the famous Asch experiment, demonstrating the power of peer pressure in groups, or the Milgram on the power of authority)

It resonates with the Collaborative Conversations model we use in our workshops. It’s both very complex and very simple. It involves complex mental models and conflicting beliefs. It involves physical proximity. In involves deep listening. It involves developing empathy. It involves a very clear and structured framework and container. And it involves the whole body.

We shall help you, step by step, put the collaborative conversation model into action in your team, in your organization, in your life.

  1. SHARED UNDERSTANDING (the ice breaker)
  3. COORDINATING ACTIONS (the decision making)
  4. REFLECTING & LEARNING (stay & discuss differences)

CC work flow_opt




We invite you to come and join us in exploring how to encourage dialogue, how to build collaborative conversations in your teams and foster inclusion, innovation and performance at your workplace.


We have united a wealth of knowledge, experience and talents from a very diverse team of senior consultants and facilitators.

We shall use ice- breakers, team building exercises, real business cases, mindfulness practices, body & presence work, breathing exercises, games, storytelling, visualization, and a lot of conversations via questions and answers. We may not provide you with beers, but there will be plenty of refreshment drinks!

As a leader, as a manager, as a consultant, learn to apply and embody Collaboration as Leadership. We have two workshops coming up in Europe in May 2017.

Click below for more information.

May 18 and 19 in Madrid Spain

May 29 in Paris France

Read more here on pulse Re-humanizing the Workplace through Collaboration as Leadership: A bold idea coupled with a modest approach, a brilliant article by Ken Homer, founder of Collaborative Conversations.

If you are not able to make it to Paris or to Madrid (the number of places are limited), we would be happy to design a programme « sur mesure » for your team and your organization. Please contact me

More context from Publicis on the ad, which gives me hope on the positive influence of advertising & communication on the corporate social responsibility. It can help create a culture of purpose and shared understanding.

In order to reenact the film’s message in real life, the company will be working in partnership with non-profit organisation The Human Library. Offering a collection of “books” – each of which is actually a person with an extraordinary background, The Human Library aims to promote solidarity, in spite of our differences. These “books,” which can be “loaned” for a conversation, offer the opportunity to discuss with others and will be available at a series of events and festivals across the UK this summer.

In addition to this, the beer company will also be supporting a new Goldsmiths University study that explores the “Science of common ground,” led by behaviour expert Dr Chris Brauer. Not only promoting this positive message externally, the Company will be holding “Mix it up” sessions which will give its staff the opportunity to get to know people in the company they have not met before.

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