Toolkit one: transformations and transformers

Toolkit one: transformations and transformers

If you watch the news, worry about climate change, feel disturbed by the impacts of unregulated social media and AI, are gripped by the world’s conflicts and vast inequalities and think – ‘Things just have to change!’ – you’re interested in transformations. But what is transformation? And how can one catalyse it? Here, we argue that the social and ecological domains are intertwined and must be addressed together in ways that grapple with complexity. This toolkit is a very short, self-directed learning journey. You can dip in wherever and whenever you like, but for getting started, we recommend that you go through the chapters and sections in order, with each building on the previous ones.

Acknowledgements: This toolkit was created by the Interaktiv kapacitetsutveckling för systeminnovation i utvecklingssamarbete/Interactive capacity development for system innovation in development co-operation​ (IXUS) collaboration, supported by a grant from Sida, and building upon thought leadership in a number of changemaker programmes from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, University of Cape Town, Adapt, Southern Africa Food Labs, University of Waterloo, and University of Victoria.

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Chapter 1


What do we mean by ‘transformation’ in the context of complex adaptive social-ecological systems? We explore this question in this chapter.

Section 1: Why we can’t wait for transformation

8 resources

Section 2: What might transformation look like?

5 resources

Section 3: How systems and complexity thinking are necessary for transformation

12 resources

Section 4: How systems entrepreneurship is necessary for transformation

4 resources

Chapter 2

The changemaker journey

Changemakers often don’t like to have the spotlight on themselves, preferring to put their energy into helping others. But it’s important for changemakers to transform, as well, and to care for their own needs. We look at reflective practice, developing a social-ecological mindset, and the self in system/system in self dynamic.

Section 1: Transforming the changemaking journey through reflective practice

5 resources

Section 2: Developing a social-ecological mindset

11 resources

Section 3: Self in system, system in self

4 resources