MY BLOG

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We know a lot about WHAT needs to change to make our world sustainable – many facts and figures for our improved collective behavior are on the table, many known and newly invented solutions to our challenges have been suggested. But do we know enough about HOW we can make the necessary transformations happen faster? These blog series are dedicated to ideas, knowledge, practice and theories that can help us pave the way forward towards a responsible Anthropocene.

Sustainability Transformations
A Turnaround in the Operating System of Human Civilization

The state of the world suggests we are at a crossroad - the next 15 to 20 years will have a decisive impact - more than in any period before - on the conditions of life on Earth. As many scientists predict, we need to rise up to our capacity for Earth Stewardship, if we want to stabilize the trajectories of our planet. In a short-term perspective we need to collectively step-up to damage control and voluntarily air obligatorily simply comply with the targets that have been set so many times.

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Understanding the Architecture of Transformations

The Global Goals require recognition of the complex interplay between systemic interventions for the different goals - as well as between the actors and networks they touch. Seeing the 17 goals not only as a technical and political implementation challenge, but also as an invitation to operate with a systems view of life, in a spirit of collective leadership (link to Compass), may advance new thinking and subsequently new practice – that could then become the unstated norm.

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Moving from events to high quality process architecture

I know many people who are determined to make the world a better place, by analysing the status quo, recommending and reminding of what needs to be done, or by pushing new agendas. But what startles me is how many of them tend to be locked in a strange paradigm – our habit of believing that it is events that change the world. Packed with key note speeches, panel discussions and so-called break-out sessions (breaking-out from what?) these publically noticeable events are built on the assumption that if the audience listens to new or convincing thoughts they get inspired and will do things differently.

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How Can we Build Transformation Systems for Sustainability?

The advent of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals already shows that human consciousness has risen to the point that the globality of the challenges has been acknowledged. While negotiated at the UN level, the SDGs have gradually entered the political and administrative arena of every country, to a greater or lesser extent, with many activities and initiatives emerging from civil society to governments to business.

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Collective Leadership
From the individual to the collective

Leadership paradigms often refer only to individuals and the expansion of one person's skills. The challenges we face in sustainability initiatives require us to go beyond the individual and build the capacity of groups and systems to move important issues of common concern forward.

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Why do we need collective leadership?

An African proverb that has been cited many times in the last few years says, “If you want to go fast, travel alone, if you want to go far, travel together.” The route to sustainable development is a long and winding road.

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What is Important when Working with Multiple Stakeholders?

The purpose of the Collective Leadership Compass is to guide leaders in advancing transformative collective action for sustainability in complex, often cross-sector and nonhierarchical multi-stakeholder initiatives.

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Overcoming Silo-thinking is paramount for Transformations

We have built a world in which silos – nations, companies, people – compete with each other and world leaders and many of their followers act accordingly

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Collaboration Literacy
Understanding the quality of stakeholder collaboration

Sometimes life suggests contradictions. On could suggest that in stakeholder collaboration people work together, because they can’t achieve the goal alone. This is surely right. And yet, without suggesting that competition in collaboration is helpful, my experience is that the stronger the collaboration partners, the better the quality of collaboration.

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Creating a collaborative field

The world has changed. Collaboration is high on the Agenda 2030 and a cornerstone for implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. One aspect is clear: multi-stakeholder collaboration between business, NGOs, government, the UN and communities will be essential to achieve the goals and they will be needed at a scale and quality that dwarfs current levels of collaboration.

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Can we learn from natural ecosystems for successful transformative change?

There is much to learn from natural ecosystems for complex and transformative change in multi-stakeholder settings. An important feature of biological (including human) systems is that relationships, and the patterns in which they occur, are ordered in the form of networks with constant internal communication

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Patterns of Aliveness Theory
Engaging With Future Possibilities is a Way of Life

What would you expect, if you read a book written by a 95 year old lady? If you are like me, you would expect that she looks back at her life. What if you read her book and, apart from a few analyses on what she had learned from life, she is actually looking forward, inspiring you to engage with a future full of possibilities?

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A Pattern Approach to Transformations

Our current sustainability challenges, such as climate change, environmental degradation, food insecurity, unsustainable human settlements or destructive consumption and production patterns, are all examples of large-scale complex systems challenges.

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Why Patterns are Key to SDG Implementation

The advent of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals already shows that human consciousness has risen to the point that the globality of the challenges has been acknowledged. While negotiated at the UN level, the SDGs have gradually entered the political and administrative arena of every country, to a greater or lesser extent, with many activities and initiatives emerging from civil society to governments to business.

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Collective Stewardship
Fostering Commitment for Change is an Art One can learn

Collective action for sustainability must be guided by a leadership paradigm that is inspirational, fosters commitment by various actors and acknowledges the role of collective contributions to decision-making.

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Co-Creating a Paradigm Shift

Donella Meadows’ article: Leverage Points – Places to Intervene in a System is an inspiring reminder, a timeless contribution that I believe needs to be unearthed again if we look at the state of the world, humankind’s many attempts and mediocre results to take us on the road to sustainability. This is an article that makes you think – and hopefully act. You will recognize how many aspects of sustainability initiatives are stuck in regulatory approaches that – according to her – are very low on the list of effectiveness of leverage points. The second highest effective leverage point, she suggests, is the power to create a paradigm shift.

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Mindshifts Needed for Collective Stewardship of Transformations

Building vital collaboration ecosystems of transformation initiatives around SDG implementation requires creating an emotionally compelling as well as strategically visible link between different initiatives, e.g. from local to global, local to national, or national to global change systems.

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