We are a couple of months into 2013 now. I look around me to check where we are at regarding the new world that the Mayan prophecy inspired us with. Of course it is too soon to see tangible change since 21st December 2012. And we actually see two stories happening, as Anand Giridharadas wrote in his piece in this weekend’s IHT ‘Are we standing at the end of times or before an intoxicating dawn’?
It is four years ago now that I embarked upon my personal Great Transition and joined Greenpeace to put my professional skills to changing the world. There are many ways to look at ‘change’. It means different things to different people. I realise that I am stating an ‘absolute truth’, but this thought has been keeping me quite busy lately.
What is incremental change? What is transformational change? And how do the two relate? Can we work in such a way that tiny, incremental changes result into big, transformational change? If we believe in this, can we actually spot the many changes that are being created by many individual men and women out there, old and young? Hence, can we agree that big changes are being created?
I think we can! This stimulates my optimism. It gives me energy and makes me want to reach out to all and enable the connections. There are many change agents out there. They live and work anywhere. They are not just working in civil society. They actually ‘hide’ everywhere. I need to believe that there are many people out there, in government, in business, in academia and of course, in NGOs.
The new change agents will recognise one another and start to create change together, across the traditional boundaries of government, business, academia and NGOs. They won’t just accept the traditional default mechanisms that all of the different sectors represent. As Einstein said ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’.
It was this kind of thinking that Smart CSOs inspired in me three years ago. Change agents from across civil society connect under the umbrella of Smart CSOs to drive change together, across the boundaries of the organisations they represent. (Read more about Smart CSOs.) For now its priority is on smartening civil society, a question of focus.
I realise, however, that I believe quite strongly in connecting the change agents across the variety of sectors. I believe that we will recognise each other. I want to believe that we will be daring to push our own sector’s default mechanism. We need to step outside of ourselves and outside of the boundaries of the organisations we represent. It will be a mindful and challenging action.
Let the Mayan prophecy prevail and let us find each other in creating change, together.