July 2, 2008

The Complexities of Social Change

In recent years, in has become increasingly clear that in order to accomplish effective social change we must stop looking at the discrete elements of our various social projects and start trying to understand the complex relationships between them.

The dynamic complexity of human social life requires a new kind of thinking and acting – ways of understanding and interacting in the world that both embrace diversity and innovation, as well as seek out deeper connections and integrities. Our greatest wisdoms are embedded in myriad of different structures and relationships – and illuminating and animating that knowledge can become a massively creative process.

This is exactly what Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman and Michael Quinn Patton purpose in their new book Getting To Maybe: How The World Has Changed. The authors show how bringing together different knowledge sets to solve complex problems can radically alter projected outcomes.

In sum, Getting to Maybe recognizes the experiences of a wide range of people and organizations and applies the insights of complexity theory in an effort to lay out a brand new way of thinking about making change in communities, in business, and in the world. Getting to Maybe offers a practical guide to social innovation for others in the field, as well as for anyone who wants to make a difference but are unsure where to start.

Listen to this interview with Getting to Maybe author Frances Westley:
On Social Innovation, Complexity Thinking and Movements of Change

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