You can get a degree in futurism, social ecology, psychology and strategic planning, all of which are about change at different levels, but I don’t think anyone offers a degree in change itself.
I’ve long been fascinated by change, at all scales. Here are some examples, ranging from the intimate to the galactic:
- What causes an individual to shift a strongly held belief? What causes someone, sometime, to soften up enough to consider the possibility of trying to imagine giving up that belief? What role do social dynamics play in individual change?
- How can two people resolve a conflict? What forms of dispute resolution work best? How does that inform two companies, or two countries in conflict?
- What are the dynamics of small groups?
- How do you create successful teams inside organizations? How do you change their mission or direction? What are the most productive leadership dynamics?
- Do large organizations inevitably resist change? Which have shifted successfully?
- Why are we often blind to change? Why are leaders so often unethical?
- How does technology change society? How does society change technology? We went from the parlor piano to three TV stations to a vast (exciting) wasteland. What makes some technologies propagate lightning-fast (mobiles, IM, email, Facebook) and others chug along? Are we finding new ways to get together to change things that matter? Is it collective intelligence?
- More importantly, how does technology change social structures and governance systems? From the printing press to the fax and the Internet, right to recent “Twitter Revolutions,” whom do we hear from? (and not?) Whom can we trust?
- Should one culture change another? Can it? What kinds of “development” projects work? Which don’t?
- Does the truth help cultures get over trauma? Can we apply those models at other scales?
- Why are all cultures so afraid of anarchy? Isn’t there a big shift toward self-governance?
- Is there a global consciousness shift afoot? Wouldn’t you want to be part of it?
Of course, I have my own theories about all of these, which I’ll dive into in subsequent posts. And if we were doing the full “Powers of Ten” zoom here, we would go inside the individual to the physical system, the organ, the cell, then back out to the Big Bang (or not)…. But let’s hold off on that.
One tangent that does interest me a lot is more metaphysical: what are the emotional, spiritual, energetic (and often unmeasurable) forces at work during change?
+20 is about identifying change, being prepared for change, helping others change, leading change (if that’s indeed not impossible). We’d love to hear about your own models of change, as well as your opinions about these various scales of change.