2020 Newsletter January

Forum Videos in Production

Video productions are in the works, to advance understanding about the Forum’s approach to our transformations challenges and to grow the Forum community.  Their production reflects the need to both simplify the Forum’s story and to inspire transformations entrepreneurs, in particular financiers.  This need and the ability to produce the videos result from on-going conversations about the Forum’s approach to financiers, in particular the South African ones mentioned in the last newsletter with a €16 million proposal. 

The number of videos is not yet finalized, but two narratives will be featured.  One responds to the question “Why do we need transformation?”  This will describe the compelling need to change our civilization’s paradigm, and reference the six deep systems identified by the Forum that hold the current paradigm in place.  The second narrative is about how the Forum addresses this transformational imperative. The goal is to complete the narrative development by the end of January.  This will be followed by production, with the end of February a tentative completion goal. 

To provide a context for the need for transformation and the role of The Forum, the Three Horizons framework will be used to describe the Forum’s role in moving from Horizon 1 of business as usual to Horizon 3 new paradigm.  The Forum is creating infrastructure and Radical Action Learning Initiatives to accelerate and strengthen Horizon 2 innovation towards the new paradigm.  Ian Kendrick, Forum Co-Lead Steward and a founder of H3Uni which focuses on the framework’s application, is creating an initial video of a few minutes duration by mid-January.

Financing of the videos is being made possible by Natie Engelbrecht, who is facilitating the Forum’s connections with South African financiers. The videos will tell the Forum’s story in a compelling few minutes without the need to read the proposals, yet enable quick assessment by financiers of whether they might like to work with us.  A priority is the inclusion of diverse voices – diverse in terms of gender, age, region, ethnicity, and other concerns such as the Deep Systems. The aim is to feature some high profile people, such as Desmond Tutu and Greta Thunberg.

Natie has put Ian in touch with Philip Theron, who is a skilled producer of such documentaries.  They are the Documentary Work Team Leads, along with Chris Riedy, Lead Steward for the Transforming Narrative Steward Team.  If you would like to be part of the team working on this project, contact Ian (ikendrick@transformationsforum.net).



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Transformations 2019: Meeting in the midst of change

Thunderous applause of appreciation and celebration marked the conclusion of the fourth international conference on social transformations to sustainability, Transformations2019.  For the first time, the conference with the SDG Transformations Forum community was held in a southern country: Chile.

Over 200 people from across the world together were motivated to gathered in Santiago.  They came to participate in dozens of workshops and events to deepen and share transformations practice and knowledge.  Forum leads further advanced communities around transforming narrative, evaluation and capacity.  It closed with a beautiful, reflective and inspiring event with artists at the Museum of Fine Arts. 


The day following the conference the Forum scheduled a day-long workshop with a couple of dozen people to go more deeply into the Forum and connecting people work to it.  It was interrupted by the street demonstrations that led to closure of the university. The street protests about inequalities began before the conference, and culminated after with a march of 1.2 million people in a city of under 6 million.  In a blog, conference rapporteur Susi Moser viewed the protests as a response to“…the unfolding climate and environmental crisis as much as the vast social injustices created by profit-driven, exploitative economic development.”

Sandra Waddock, in another blog, reflected that “Transformations of the scope and magnitude needed now begin with endings. With loss. With explosive eruptions over deprivations and injustices. They launch from the old ways no longer working, not from business as usual. We may wish for innovation and emergence of a beautiful new world, and visions of that better world are critically important as our North Star. But we must not lose sight of the powder keg of discontent on which we sit. Transformation is inevitably dangerous. For grievance to transform, it will take grief. We are in it now.”

The protests led to a commitment by the government to a constitutional assembly and open process to rewrite the 1980 constitution forced upon the country by the Pinochet dictatorship.

Reflections from Transformations 2019 Chair, Paulina Paz Aldunce

Today I want to talk about “our Conference” Transformations 2019 Conference. I am not going to concentrate here on the ongoing social crisis in Chile, which is an urgent and necessary process, that in its core is calling for deep transformations. Such a complex process has many edges and therefore it deserves a special space to talk about it. We are fighting a battle with the hope of becoming a society that has space for all and with opportunities for those that today are invisible, ghosts that many don’t want to see in an economic model that is driven mainly by economic growth. At the same time, the cost of this process is very high, with human rights violation and levels of streets violence that are almost impossible to see it without tears in the eyes. Hope is what is sustaining me today, hope that all this suffering is not going to be for nothing but on the contrary is going to be the foundation of a Transformed society.

Today I want to talk about “our Conference”. If I close my eyes and look inside what I see the most is people, “our community“the Transformation community”. I believe that we have made one more step forward in to building a community, as many of you mentioned too. To do so, spaces were created during the Conference for communication and for becoming together, not only for science discussions but also for expressing emotions, and for that we needed to fly high and taking the risk of imaging new ways of connecting with each other. In a conference of scientific excellence, spaces for inspiration were also created, inspiration for Transformations based on music and dance in all plenaries, seeing the world through children eyes expressed in paintings and  poems, sent by many of you, representing transformation. We also where in a campus with murals everywhere, social activities to visit sites  where art has been expressed and a final activity in the Museum of Fine Arts

We also built community by creating spaces during the Conference for people speaking different languages to communicate to each other. Spaces also where we received 12 not academic sessions with actors from the “real world” getting actively involved; actors outside the walls of academics, and with journalist being part of the Conference. Our community has also geographically expanded to a different context with the participation of many people coming from the global south.

The Transformations 2019 Conference have not ended, you will still hear from us, we are preparing devolution processes and materials to show what the Transformation community achieved during that week.  

We have advanced in building the Transformation community, a community that become together in a hug …

Many thanks to Paulina Paz Aldunce for her tireless commitment to the conference’s success as Conference Chair.

Transformations 2021

The next Transformations meeting is tentatively scheduled for 2021.  People interested in working on it should contact Ioan Fazey: ioan.fazey@york.ac.uk  Many thanks to Paulina Paz Aldunce for her tireless commitment to the conference’s success as Conference Chair.


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Seven Action Teams Established

The new year begins with an energetic push by seven new action teams to advance the Forum’s development.  Below are brief descriptions.  If you are interested in joining a team, contact the team lead.


1. Documentary Production

Task:  To prepare two narratives for the Forum: (1) for the Forum’s view of the need for Transformation, and (2) the Forum’s response to the need. From these, generate a video documentary for use in approaching funders, transformation actors and as an attractor for the Forum.

Lead:  Ian Kendrick: ikendrick@transformationsforum.net

Co-Lead:  Chris Riedy

2. Website

Task:  To ensure the web-site continues to develop to (1) reflect the Forum’s evolution, and (2) provide an engaging and valued user experience. 

Lead:  Steve Waddell: swaddell@transformationsforum.net

3. Short-Term Community Platform

Task:  To identify and guide adoption of a community on-line platform for immediate use by all Steward Teams. 

Leads:  Ian Kendrick (ikendrick@transformationsforum.net) and Steve Waddell (swaddell@transformationsforum.net)

4. Long-Term Platform

Task:  To (1) identify who to engage in development of a multi-sided platform, (2) create a process for their engagement and (3) launch the process; this will be done with consideration of the economic model for the Forum.

Lead:  Ian Kendrick (ikendrick@transformationsforum.net)

5. Content

Task:  To develop a framework/strategy for creation of exchanges, groups, blogs, videos, documents, and other materials/activities to provide a lively community platform experience.

Leads:  Ian Kendrick (ikendrick@transformationsforum.net) and Steve Waddell (swaddell@transformationsforum.net)

6. Radical Action and Learning Initiatives (RALIs)

Task:  To develop a strategy to identify, support, and activate RALIs.  RALIs are initiatives that  (1) strengthen a transformations system, and/or (2) address a particular transformations challenge.  Further definition of RALI characteristics, criteria and focal areas of intervention are part of the task. 

Lead:  Steven Lovink (jslovink@planet2025.net)

7. Funding/Economic Model

Task:  To further develop the strategy and implementation plan for generating financial resources and the economic model for the Forum.

Leads:  Steven Lovink (jslovink@planet2025.net), Ian Kendrick (ikendrick@transformationsforum.net) and Steve Waddell (swaddell@transformationsforum.net)



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Pathways Reports


​The Forum is organizing around three pathways to develop transformations systems. One is focused on Deep Systems that require transforming, one on place-based transformation and the third on issues. Steward Teams (STs) are at various stages of development around 11 Transformations Systems.

Deep Systems Pathways

Transforming Capacity Systems Report

See the Steward Team’s webpage.

Activities over the last three months include:

  • A Learning Transformations Collective completed a series of monthly webinars that shared participant cases of transformation and what the participants are doing to advance transformation capacity. The December webinar focused on The Weaving Lab and a Regenerative Entrepreneurship Virtual Certificate of the Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional. The Collective decided they would like to continue in 2020, with a focus on developing collaborative initiatives for transforming capacity. For more information contact Steve Waddell at swaddell@transformationsforum.net.
  • Workshops were held at Transformations2019.
  • A special focus in this new year is to activate youth engagement through transformative learning, “developmental leadership” opportunities, and the fostering of “developmental relationships” across generational, geographical, sociocultural, and sectoral divides. Coleen Vogel and Julianna Gwiszcz are in the process of co-developing an anticipated youth engagement and climate action initiative to be piloted in South Africa with the goal of broadening it out to other geographical regions. Feel free to contact Julianna at jgwiszcz@asu.edu
  • Steps are in motion to build upon strong linkages growing within the place-based and issue-based pathways (e.g. South Africa/LINEA, Place-based regenerative communities, climate action, land and people systems, etc.).
  • Julianna Gwiszcz is representing the team in contributing directly to the co-development of the Forum’s online community platform and the more long-term vision for the Transformations Interaction Platform (TIP). These will be essential tools for continued learning, global engagement and access to specific Transforming Capacity mechanisms and resources as they evolve.
  • Forum participant Global Transformation Corps convened a Catalytic Leaders Lab on SDGs for emerging entrepreneurs in Morocco. This will lead to a global challenge to discover the world changing SDG ventures that will regenerate the future.  Its associated Transformation Academy is partnering on social skills entrepreneurship training with a major Moroccan University.

Transforming Evaluation Systems Report (TE-ST)

See the Steward Team’s webpage

Activities over the last three months include:

  • Meetings

o    The Forum was a partner in the combined conference held in Prague in October of the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS) Global Assembly and the Third International Conference on Evaluating Environment and Development, with the theme Evaluation for Transformative Change: Bringing experiences of the Global South to the Global North. Forum participants were active in six sessions and three workshops. Conference closed with a Prague Declaration which committed to transformational evaluation for the SDGs. This significant achievement was accomplished with leadership from TE-ST Lead Steward Zenda Ofir.

o    As follow-up to the conference, a high level Wilton Park meeting (similar to Bellagio, but in the UK) is being planned between IDEAS and the Forum for June 2020 to focus on Transformational Change.

o    A meeting of key Forum-connected persons based in Geneva discussed contours of a node for the Steward Team. Climate and nature-based solutions were introduced as part of the issue-based focus.

o   The Steward Team also was active at the American Evaluation Association and Transformations 2019 conferences.

  • Blue Marble Evaluation

o    Blue Marble Evaluation was launched at the American Evaluation Association’s annual meeting. 

o    BME was a major topic of interest in a series of two meetings on the future of large scale asset ownership.

  • Broadening TE-ST: As well as through the professional meetings, TE-ST is broadening its participants and work by engaging with many people in the evaluation community who are dealing with complex systems as a result of (i) demands of the SDGs and (ii) acknowledgment of the importance of viewing development through a complex systems lens (e.g. Ramalingham in Aid on the Edge of Chaos). 
  • Priorities for 2020. Priorities were established for 2020.
  • Global Evaluation Architecture: The Steward Team is engaging the global evaluation architecture more formally in the work of TE-ST. This includes networks of associations and organizations focused on evaluation – EvalPartners, IOCE, UNEG, heads of evaluation offices. Some of the most leading figures in the global evaluation community are, or want to be, part of the group. 
  • Research: The Team is joining up with Adam Hejnowicz at York University (lead author) to submit an article about the Steward Team and Blue Marble Evaluation for a special issue of the journal Evaluation, with a focus on work of Centre for the Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus (CECAN). In 2020, the Team will develop similar partnerships for research on complexity, transformation, evaluation, development and many other fields. This will determine how evaluation can most powerfully support transformation at significant scale, applying our place-based and issue-based foci.
  • Forum Evaluation: TE-ST also is focusing on evaluation of the Forum itself applying the principles of developmental evaluation.

Transforming Finance Systems Report

See the Steward Team’s webpage

Activities over the last three months include:

  • Participating in a Future of Capital working group on Global Systems Change for the Common Good to bring together asset managers to the table at the UN in 2020 around systems change investing and transforming finance. (Future Capital Founders Report)
  • Working on a Feasibility Assessment of Seeing the Forest for the Trees – an Intergenerational Call to Action and moonshot effort to plant and finance 1 Trillion trees aiming to draw down atmospheric carbon to pre-industrial levels in collaboration with partners, including the Forum.
  • Facilitating emergence of SourceCode4Life Consortium’s founding members’ whole system entrepreneurial initiatives, including the Guiana Shield/Facility, indigenous land trusts and sacred economics, regenerative agriculture, transformation education & entrepreneurship, SDG tracker, blockchain, personal/group life keys, and SourceCode4Life business modelling for human enterprise.
  • Supporting connections to develop Prevention Derivatives as a transformational product to move the insurance industry from payment for losses, to risk reduction.
  • Including development of a Financiers Transformations Network in a new Forum proposal. 
  • Forum participant WEAll reports publishing extracts of its forthcoming business guide.

Transforming Governance and Organizing Systems Report

See the webpage.  No Steward Team has yet formed.

Transforming Innovation Systems Report

See the webpage.  No Steward Team has yet formed.

Transforming Narratives Systems Report

See the Steward Team’s webpage

Activities over the last three months include:

  • A full day workshop, visioning session and paper session was held at Transformations2019 conference.
  • An on-going survey is soliciting New Stories for a Sustainable Futures; a preliminary analysis of findings is in progress…you are encouraged to fill it out.
  • There were two webinar meeting updates for the network on progress with the Transforming Narratives work.
  • Several proposals for narrative-focused sessions were submitted for the SRI2020 conference in Brisbane, Australia, June 14-17.
  • Slack and MailChimp have been set up as new communication platforms for the group.
  • The Team Councillor attended for the Team:
    • Homo Ausum: Venturing for Humanity (mini-conference), Baruch College Field Center for Entrepreneurship, co-sponsored by Ivey Business School (Morrisesette Institute for Entrepreneurship), and
    • International Humanistic Management Association, December 9-11, 2019, New York, and
    • Co-Lead theInternational Humanistic Management Association Intellectual Shamans Webinar.
  • Forum participant WEAll reports:
    • Winning and now planning for a large project during 2020 to launch just transition policies in our WEGo countries (plus new WEGo member territories) through major political and musical events at COP26
    • Developing a challenge to advertisers to come up with ‘the biggest story yet to be told’ around what is a wellbeing economy
    • Continuing to amplify the wellbeing economy through multiple media events


Place-Based Pathway Steward Teams

The Forum supports emergence of place-based transformations.

Transforming Place-Based Systems Report

See the Steward Team’s action plan.  The Regenerative Community Network (RCN) is taking leadership for development of the Steward Team, which includes representation from LINEA and the Gulf of Maine and is adding other place-based transformation networks and communities.  Interested people should contact the Lead Steward, Stuart Cowan, at scowan@capitalinstitute.org

In the meantime, RCN reports over the last three months:

  • The first global convening of the Regenerative Community Network in late October included other Forum participation and 35 people representing 12 bioregional collaboratives from 4 continents. It produced a number of synergies with the Forum including collaborative work in Costa Rica with a focus the Osa Peninsula (Costa Rica), Brazil and Sinol de Vale, UK in South Devon and Gulf of Maine in US and Canada.
  • RCN attended the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Common Earth Conference October 3-4. The RCN is now working to support the Commonwealth’s implementation partner for Regenerative Development, the UK NGO Common Earth. It will also Chair the Commonwealth’s Working Group on Regenerative Finance.
  • The RCN has been working with software firm 7Vortex on innovative ways to visualize knowledge systems in the network and beyond. This will be connected to the Transformations Systems Analysis Steward Team formation. 
  • The RCN has solidified a strategic partnership with Blue Marble Evaluation (BME) and the Forum’s Transforming Evaluation Steward Team to apply BME as a baseline, design, and evaluation approach for multiple bioregional collaboratives in the network.  In 2020, the Steward Team will develop this partnership with a joint grant application to the McKnight Foundation to co-develop the Blue Marble Infrastructure.
  • The RCN is now active at both national and bioregional scales in Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica.

Transforming The Gulf of Maine (USA) Systems Report

See the Steward Team’s action plan.

From Glenn Page: gpage@sustainametrix.com

  • The Team has signed a lease to develop a headquarters for the Gulf Of Maine work in partnership with the New England Ocean Cluster in Portland Maine – this is a highly a collaborative endeavor modeled after the Ocean Hüs in Reykjavik, Iceland.
  • Blue Marble Evaluation Hub: The Gulf of Maine Hub will serve as the epicenter for the development of Blue Marble Evaluation infrastructure such as the website development, trainings, deep learning, engagement of philanthropies and further fundraising (I’m developing a subscription model for philanthropies to test the water – I’m in negotiation on some and budget – but hopefully this will keep us going for a little while.
  • Gulf of Maine Learning Journeys 2020:Hold the dates of July 20-25 and August 21-28, 2020 for a few different type of deep dives into transformations systems mapping/Blue Marble and regenerative systems in the Gulf of Maine.  These are events not to miss.

Transforming LINEA (Sub-Saharan Africa) Systems Report

LINEA: Linking, nurturing, expanding and accelerating just landscape transformations for nature and people in sub-Saharan Africa.  

See the Steward Team’s action plan.  The Emerald Network (EN) is taking leadership with development of this Transformations System.  

From John Colvin: john.colvin.emeraldnetwork@gmail.com

  1. The core community of practice within Emerald Network (EN) (4 out of 5 of whom are Forum and LINEA members) performed and facilitated a 90-minute panel at the Prague conference in early October, on Evaluation Designs for Transformations: Contradictions and Complementarities between South and North.
  2. There has been mixed progress in Malawi following presentation of the LINEA Malawi proposal to UNDP, DFID and USAID in early June
  3. Work in Zambia by Mutizwa, Chimwemwe and John has progressed over the past 3 months, Mutizwa through strategic work to embed education for sustainable development and 21st century competence thinking in the teacher education systems of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Chimwemwe through the Seeds and Knowledge Initiative and John through work on climate resilient infrastructure.
  4. EN is now concluding a transformational learning 18-month evaluation of Sweden’s SEK 4bn ($640m) Climate Change Initiative (CCI), which ran from 2009 – 2013. We held a final collaborative sense-making workshop with the Evaluation Reference Group in mid-October and the synthesis report is currently under review by our client, Sweden’s Expert Group of Aid Studies. This report and 11 supporting case studies and portfolio analyses will be launched in Stockholm on 6th February 2020.
  5. EN were recently awarded an Oak Foundation 9-month evaluation, designed to support the renewal of the Foundation’s 4-year environment strategy. The current strategy under evaluation (2016-20) invested in climate change mitigation, marine conservation and international wildlife trade and conservation initiatives. At this critical moment in the emergence of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, EN will work closely with Oak to develop a co-productive approach to the evaluation and strategy refresh process.
  6. John recently collaborated with the evaluation team at LTS International, leading a case study from Morocco as part of the 10-year evaluation of the African Development Bank’s climate change and green growth investments across the continent.
  7. Engagements with the Adaptation Fund (AF) continue to develop in productive and insightful ways.


Issues Pathway Steward Teams

The Forum also works on particular issues that require transformations.

Transforming Land and People Systems Report

See the action plan.  No further action has yet been taken.



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Working Groups Reports

Working Groups support the Steward Teams and the Forum broadly.  The Forum is developing two WGs. 

Transforming Systems Analysis WorkingGroup

See the Working Group’s action plan


Lead Initiator:  Glenn Page – gpage@sustainametrix.com

  • An initial community meeting was held January 3 to begin implementing the action plan.
  • In response to an invitation, the WG will be presenting its plans for discussion at the February ESRI GeoDesign Summit.

Transformations Interactions Plan

See the Working Group’saction plan

Lead Initiator:  Ian Kendrick – ikendrick@transformationsforum.net

  • This WG is being developed through the Long-Term Platform Action Team (see Seven Actions story above).


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Community Gatherings

See You in Australia? In Texas?

Sustainability Research + Innovation Brisbane, Australia. June 14-17, 2020

SRI2020 will be a unique gathering to connect those at the forefront of sustainability science, innovation, funding, communication and implementation across sectors and disciplines. 

  • SRI2020 will be the first of a conference series that will be the home for sustainability knowledge and practice around the world.
  • SRI2020 will provide unprecedented opportunities for career development, active participation and learning.
  • With a particular focus on pollinating ideas and solutions across the Global South and Global North, from early-career to those in senior positions, SRI will be the incubator and home for sustainability in 2020 and beyond.

Registration opens January 30, 2020. New opportunities to engage will also be announced soon.


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SUSTEX International Summit

Summit on Sustainability

April 15-17, 2020
Texas A&M University – Central Texas

Call for Papers Deadline February 15.

The 2nd SUSTEX International Summit at Texas A&M University – Central Texas focuses on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with contributions about the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of the SDGs.

The goal of the SUSTEX is to bring current and future leaders together in the private sector, government, and academia together in a personalized environment (no more than 120 attendees) to reflect and discuss the current challenges and successes in advancing sustainable business practices and education. This conference is a full two-day format with a focus on your role in the field of sustainability. After a welcome dinner on Wednesday evening, the focus for Thursday is geared more to include private sector and government solutions and approaches, scheduled with keynote speakers/panels and breakout sessions. Friday will likely focus on academic aspects of sustainability through presentations of original research, teaching cases, and discussions about how to promote sustainability in higher education. The format on Friday may include workshops, roundtables, and research presentations.

Media Report

Publications by Community Members

Blue Marble Evaluation: Premises and Principles

As a transdisciplinary profession, evaluation has much to offer to global change interventions that work toward a sustainable future across national boundaries, sectors, and issues. This book introduces Blue Marble evaluation, which provides a framework for developing, adapting, and evaluating major systems change initiatives involving complex networks of stakeholders. Michael Quinn Patton demonstrates how the four overarching principles and 12 operating principles of this innovative approach allow evaluators, planners, and implementers to home in on sustainability and equity issues in an intervention. Compelling case examples, bulleted review lists, charts, and 80 original exhibits and graphics connect the global and local, the human and ecological. Rooted in utilization-focused, developmental, and principles-focused evaluation, Blue Marble evaluation is designed to tackle problems outside the reach of traditional evaluation practice. Here’s a great new beta website on Blue Marble Evaluation that was created with leadership by our Transforming Evaluation Councillor

Author: Michael Quinn Patton

Strategic Harmony: The Path to Fixing our Broken World

This book is for those who want to re-invent the world, to be in harmony, and to be driven by universal values and a superior ethical compass. This book is for those who want to transform an institution, business or organization; catalyze political change; impact UN Sustainable Development Goals; or disrupt outdated, unresponsive policies (in healthcare, education, government, economics, and more).

Author: Ira Kaufman

Sustainability transformations: sense-making across societies

How can we understand what drives such transformative changes, to what extent transformations can be governed, and how actors’ understandings of the goals and pathways of transformations differ within and across societies?

These are the types of questions that motivated us to write our book Sustainability Transformations: Agents and Drivers Across Societies (Cambridge University Press, 2019). We analyse the multiple and multifaceted ways in which actors make sense of how to change the world sustainably. We explore historical and current analogies, metaphors, stories and narratives from around the world, based on studies of academic literature, countries’ contributions to the Paris climate agreement and the UN 2030 Agenda, international news media, and lay people’s focus groups on five continents.

See a blog on the book here

Authors: Victoria Wibeck and Björn-Ola Linnér

Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives

One of my great interests is the meaning, in both theory and practice, of transformation. What makes it different? And how is it relevant to the current challenges of the global problematique? My research led me to the view that transformation cannot be understood within the dominant paradigm of narrow cultural views vying for supremacy in providing ‘the answer’. An inclusive holistic viewpoint is needed.

Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives describes my personal learning journey over several decades working with assertions of absolutes and seeking to place them in a perspective of relationship and pattern. I call this ‘open holism’. The book addresses eight attributes of the current paradigm which are locking us into ‘business as usual’ even when we think we are solving global problems through pursuing the sustainable development goals. Each chapter addresses a different basic assumption that dominates current attitudes, policies and actions and offers new perspectives, concepts and practices to help shift the paradigm.

See a blog on the book here

Author: Anthony Hodgson

Transformative Spaces In the Making

Authors: Pereira, Laura, Niki Frantzeskaki, AniekHebinck, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Scott Drimie, Michelle Dyer, Hallie Eakin, Diego Galafassi, Timos Karpouzoglou, Fiona Marshall, Michele-Lee Moore, Per Olsson, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Patrick van Zwanenberg, and Joost M. Vervoort.

“Transformative spaces in the making: key lessons from nine cases in the Global South.”

Creating a just and sustainable planet will require not only small changes, but also systemic transformations in how humans relate to the planet and to each other, i.e., social–ecological transformations. We suggest there is a need for collaborative environments where experimentation with new configurations of social–ecological systems can occur, and we refer to these as transformative spaces. In this paper, we seek a better understanding of how to design and enable the creation of transformative spaces in a development context. We analyse nine case studies from a previous special issue on Designing Transformative Spaces that aimed to collect examples of cutting-edge action-oriented research on transformations from the Global South. The analysis showed five design phases as being essential: Problem Definition Phase; Operationalisation Phase; Tactical Phase; Outcome Phase; and Reflection Phase. From this synthesis, we distilled five key messages that should be considered when designing research, including: (a) there are ethical dilemmas associated with creating a transformative space in a system; (b) it is important to assess the readiness of the system for change before engaging in it; (c) there is a need to balance between ‘safe’ and ‘safe-enough’ spaces for transformation; (d) convening a transformative space requires an assemblage of diverse methodological frameworks and tools; and (e) transformative spaces can act as a starting point for institutionalising transformative change. Many researchers are now engaging in transdisciplinary transformations research, and are finding themselves at the knowledge–action interface contributing to transformative space-making. We hope that by analysing experiences from across different geographies we can contribute towards better understanding of how to navigate the processes needed for the urgent global transformations that are being called for to create a more equitable and sustainable planet Earth.



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