November 2016

It’s the 500th anniversary of Utopia — what’s yours?

Four philosophers concluded that the concept of utopia is outdated. We don't agree. Do you? These days public debate is either rude and provocative or it is being censored and contrary opinions are shut down solely on moral grounds — social media being most affected by both extremes.

Continue Reading

April 2015

Six hypotheses on the role of civil society actors in the Great Transition

Answering the question as to what contribution civil society can make towards social and economic transformation should involve an analysis of the political and economic framework (external factors) and a differentiated and honest examination of the composition of civil society (internal factors).

Continue Reading

November 2014

A sign for optimism: How the Great Transition is slowly prospering within and transforming Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands)

Since the early days when we discussed setting up the Smart CSOs Lab, the million-dollar question has been: Is there any realistic chance that established professional NGOs adopt the key Smart CSOs insights and become effective change agents for the Great Transition? Or are these organisations too much stuck in the system and are our efforts to change them doomed to fail?

Continue Reading

August 2014

Forget about controlling or shaping transformative change! – An interview with Johannes Krause

CSOs are very good at managing projects: planning, managing, evaluating. But are these competences useful when it comes to the need to support systemic change? Can transformation be defined, planned and controlled just like most projects NGOs usually deal with?

Continue Reading

March 2014

A personal note: Why I'm not obsessed about banning ads

This little personal note of mine might create some controversy amongst our readers. And if it does, I would welcome a discussion as it might help sharpen our minds on some important questions.

Continue Reading

January 2014

Project Doughnut: How Tearfund’s advocacy department has started a journey from single issue lobbying towards systemic change

As we have experienced in the Smart CSOs community over the last two years, changing an organisation to work on system change is far from an easy task. Most civil society organisations are deeply entrenched in the current system.

Continue Reading

September 2013

System change, systemic change, paradigm shift, Great Transition, Great Transformation, the big shift… Are we talking about the same thing?

Recently, Forum for the Future launched its report, Creating the big shift: system innovation for sustainability. The report explains in a nicely didactic way the six-steps approach that Forum for the Future developed and uses in its system innovation work, and it reminds us of the useful insights we can draw from the systems thinking work from Peter Senge, Donnella Meadows and others. We should use their tools and methods to get more systemic in our work. For the Smart CSOs Lab’s ambition to improve our theories of change, this report is a good resource to look at.

However, the report also made me quite nervous, as it reminded me that we often mean very different things when we talk about system change and the report talks a lot about system change.

Continue Reading

1352466023 picons36   picons33   Newsletter