The world needs more of you. Not just your projects, programs, and innovations.
It needs the thinking, values and aspirations behind them. It needs to understand the soul of your work.
Otherwise your projects, programs and innovations will have limited influence on culture i.e. those habits, beliefs and practices that keep things the way they are. And isn’t culture shifting why you do what you do?
You can’t assume that people will recognize or understand the assumptions that underlie your work and therefore change their behaviour. The social change field is littered with projects that never fulfilled that promise. If you are not prepared cultural currents are strong enough to swamp any specific initiative, no matter how scalable it may be.
Engaging with culture requires your authentic self. As well as your full attention, discipline and creativity.
Casting yourselves adrift in cultural currents is alarming and unpredictable. Maybe that is why so many keep doing projects, programs and innovations. They are concrete and familiar whereas culture is a stranger thing, unpredictable and amorphous.
However, if cultural beliefs and attitudes such as misogyny, patriarchy, hierarchy, consumerism, colonialism, ableism and a host of other “isms” underscore your work, then consider dedicating more (much more) of your bright spirit and time to engage with those powerful forces. The world yearns for spiritual leaders more (much more) than it does for your program, project or innovation.
Canada is a country of perpetual pilot projects. We seldom move proven projects into stable, funded programs, and we rarely transfer the outcomes of pilot projects across jurisdictions. ~ Monique Bégin (former federal Minister of Health)
In an extraordinary time the stakes are existential. ~ Chris Kutarna