Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Participating in a world in transition

When thinking about 'change', it is easy to forget that the world is changing.  I know I do... I assume we want to be part of creating change in how the world works... which is nonsense.  It is easy but misleading to project the status quo forward (with a few variables of change, like population and economic growth), rather than think about ever evolving trajectories and constant transformation.

The future will be different!  Congratulations Changemaker, change is guaranteed!

And yes, some of the trends are very promising... like the shift towards participation from consumption.  And the related trend towards decentralised organisations and institutions (like Bitcoin) - a trend which might seem trivial or fringe in some cases, but has potential to revolutionise democracy, civic participation and the economy in ways beyond our imagination.  (Though some do a better job than others of having a crack at it.)

When we think from this angle, it is clear we shouldn't be trying to make change, but working out how we can participate best, to help realise emergence of the best possible future.

Yes, I am parroting Otto Scharmer.

It therefore makes more sense to
  • focus on global trends and transitions (rather than understanding problems that need fixing)
  • think in terms of the threats* and opportunities around emergence of the kind of future we want to see
Nevermind changemaking.  Change is a given.  We need to understand how best to participate.

// jsbaxter.com.au

* I am worried, for instance, about the threat that corporate interests will learn to 'play the game' better and faster than anyone else, stewarding a new system which realises few of the potential benefits of changes, simply making it more difficult to uproot entrenched power and address socio-ecological pathologies (e.g. Uber).

1 comment:

  1. It was pretty remiss of me to write this and not reference Meg Wheatley. She champions this sort of participation-in-evolution as strongly as anyone and has been a big influence on this thinking.