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Societal Change Systems: A Framework to Address Wicked Problems

Posted by Steve Waddell in Published Articles on October 19, 2016

Waddell, Steve. 2016. “Societal Change Systems:  A framework and tool to address wicked problems.” Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 52(4):422-40.

Issues such as climate change, poverty, sustainable agriculture, and health care are described as wicked, messy, complex, and multi-level: they involve many hundreds of organizations at a national level; at a global level this easily increases to many thousands. Their dynamics are constantly changing with changes in knowledge, power, resources and other factors. Emerging their collective power into an effective force represents an enormous organizing challenge. Drawing from complexity and global networking knowledge, and building on the concept of “innovation system,” a new article develops the concept of “societal change system” (SCS) as a framework to support addressing the organizing challenge.

The insights arose through analysis of global change initiatives aiming to integrate sustainability concerns into the production of electricity, which included a meeting of leaders of such change initiatives. The activities produced recommendations for greatly enhancing change efforts with pragmatic steps to develop the societal change system in which they are embedded.

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