We hope. During occasional moments in my 10+ year yoga practice, I’ve contemplated quitting. The physical machinations don't seem worth the delayed, amorphous results. A client recently commented “I was hoping that the document you sent would have that one big, game changing idea. It didn’t.” The nature of innovation is misunderstood. I’m eager for substantial, meaningful breakthroughs, yet have learned how much hard, slogging work is required to create the conditions for them to occur.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Filtering by Tag: Systems Change
How Not What
What will we do? Every mayoral election provides the opportunity for new ideas. I was recently approached by one candidate’s campaign to help create a forward-looking sustainability platform. My first response: it’s not a matter of what, but of how.
Bit By Bit
Go big, or go home. I used to be enamored by the allure of fostering large-scale change that would catalyze more sustainable behaviors and practices. However, the potential of more modest shifts has been occupying my attention lately. I’ve experienced this in my yoga practice, finding that a series of smaller, more accessible adjustments can add up over time. Striving for bigger ones often resulted in fatigue, injury or frustration. Achieving these more minute inflections, however, demands a more focused and disciplined level of concentration, and forfeiting the yearning for the ego-gratifying big win.
The Selma to Montgomery March, organized by a coalition of African-American organizations, began on March 21, 1965 and built significant momentum for the passage of the Voting Rights Act later that year. It is a reminder that systems change is achieved not through the benevolence of powerful leaders, but rather through collective action by ordinary people, who often overcome violence and oppression to change the status quo.
Since the first polio vaccination on February 23, 1954, the worldwide effort to eradicate the disease has almost succeeded, but is now hampered by mainly geopolitical challenges. This dynamic appears often in systems change efforts, where scientific breakthroughs are straightforward in comparison to the social and political transformations required to achieve their full benefits.
I don’t know about you, but it seems like everywhere I turn folks are talking about blockchain and its potential to change all of the systems around us, from food to banking. But what does blockchain even mean?Read More
I’ve written previously about how the end of the Cold War was greeted as a paradigm shift, marked by literal and symbolic ruptures like the collapse of the Berlin Wall. More innocuously, but equally importantly, McDonald’s, perhaps the world’s most famous capitalist icon, opened its first Soviet Union location in 1990.
Part 2: Innovation Imperatives
Last November I distributed the first installment in this series. Creating meaningful innovation and change requires a multitude of factors, many of which are often overlooked.
Creating new institutions to shift systemic conditions is inherently risky, and can result in failure; the League of Nations, established in 1920 after World War I, is one such example. While it failed to prevent a second nationalism-fueled global conflict, its ethos and mission were foundational to the future United Nations.
If you have ever partnered with Foresight, you know that one of the first steps we take on a project is to create a “systems map” (or diagram) to better understand and make explicit the key elements, root causes, feedback loops, and forces that shape the system we are working on. But what does a systems map even mean?Read More
For its 2017 Person of the Year, Time magazine just named “The Silence Breakers;” the brave people who have bared their pain from sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse by those at the highest levels of power and influence, and catalyzed the emergence of a truly transformative movement that is shifting our cultural tolerance. YES!
While we have touched on the concept of emergence before in this series, this moment presents a compelling example and an opportunity to revisit it. So, let’s re-pose: what does emergence even mean?Read More