This book is for activists who want to change the world.
Duncan Green

Three Take-aways

  • Understand how power works in the systems you’re working with, in order to change it.
  • Check your assumptions about power: always.
  • There is no one-way of making change: all of us, in all our hats can create a better world.

Whether you’re trying to save a community centre or influence the World Bank, you must get into the guts of the place. Who has power over it, who cares about your issue and who doesn’t that can harm your work? Once you know how power is flowing, you know how much you must build and who with, to make change happen.

I started to see complexity and unpredictable “emergent change” everywhere.
Duncan Green

Every system is full of people interacting with each other over power. Because people are not robots, these interactions are unpredictable and changing. It makes the whole mapping process that bit harder. Our role as activists is to understand how power moves, be prepared for challenges and get our dancing shoes on.

Life is not a star wars movie (unfortunately) – there is no one right way to make a difference. This thinking often holds us back and slows positive change down. Green argues it will take heat from the top and bottom to make change happen. We also need to get more playful and have a critical eye to influence these spaces for the greater good. When we do this we can find unexpected allies in often ignored places. Making unchecked assumptions and dividing people into square boxes when they are in-fact rare diamonds, costs all of us in the end.

It takes time to understand how power works and even longer to make change. What does that mean for activists who are impatient with the slow pace of justice? Well Green wants you to slow the fudge down!

Take a deep breath, put your sense of urgency to one side for a moment, and become a ‘reflective’
Duncan Green

We are also going to make a lot of mistakes:

You and your colleagues have to be ready to discuss and learn from failure
Duncan Green

In the end it is not necessarily the committed and proud activists Green is endorsing, but the thoughtful and flexible ones that make change happen.

How change happens book cover. Town paper with change coming out of it.

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How Change Happens

by Duncan Green

With stories spanning the globe, minimal buzz-words and a personal touch, "How Change Happens" is a book for activists hoping to make a difference.

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