Points of power for change-makers

When I was talking regenerative business and systems thinking with some friends the other day, we came around to Donella Meadows and her classic article “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System”. 

Some web research found this Prezzi called Points o f Power that gives a nice summary of levels of influence, including:

Places to intervene in a system

Intentional design

Designing good in from the ground up is a key starting point (10th place in terms of effectiveness) – particularly including in the technologies and systems that deliver our products and services.  For me, this includes a shift beyond the chemical and mechanical engineering of the 19th and 20th centuries – to cleaner, safer solutions based on physics and biology.

For example, rather than use mechanical filters and chemicals to purify water, what products are there that copy what rivers have been using for eons – whirlpools and vortices.   (This is my current favourite as an off-the shelf technology.)

Getting the word out

Delivering information to a place it wasn’t going before (6th place).  For me this has two aspects:

  1. Getting information about the profitable solutions of regenerative design to those who think it’s all about expense and compliance; and
  2. Getting the latest tools for innovation delivery to sustainability practitioners who are suffering frustration and burnout. 
    The last 30 years of studying human behaviour and influence has delivered a wealth of valuable information for change-makers – but it’s not yet widely applied by sustainability practitioners.

Spreading new paradigms

Shifting paradigms (1st and 2nd place) – particularly the need “speaking loudly and with assurance for the new one”.   The more we talk about the growing opportunities to create wealth BY regenerating communities and ecosystems, the more we support the new paradigm.

Rather than create helplessness, become an agent of constructive seduction for doing well by doing good.  Get yourself a copy of the book BUSINESS LESSONS FROM A RADICAL INDUSTRIALIST, learn the story of Ray Anderson and Interface and top it up with the news about their fishing net recovery program Networks.

And if Systems Thinking is new to you, consider Donella Meadows’ book THINKING IN SYSTEMS.

(If you’ve never heard of Interface, The Blue Economy, Biomimicry or The Circular Economy, then the first place to make a paradigm shift could be inside your head!)

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