“Societal transformation will depend upon our ability to change our ideas about change itself — how it manifests and how it can be initiated and directed”
Terry Irwin et al.
Designing around innovations (and rediscoveries) – their transformative ambitions and potentials, their barriers and challenges, and their effects accross socioeconomic and socioecological systems – requires new ways of approaching change. Theories of change, transitions and transformations serve as umbrella terms for a wide variety of interdisciplinary approaches and configurations, which help understand:
1.) Dynamics (including power) among actors and coalitions, diverse innovation spheres, institutions and imaginaries
2.) Complex possible alternative or transitional systemic socio-ecological configurations through space and time
3.) Unforseen pathways and mechanisms for individual/ collective transformative agency and capacity development
In short, by themselves and in combination, when used in a reflexive manner, they support practitioners in the creation of new mental, organizational and innovation protocols that place questions of vision, strategy, cooperation and social and institutional change at the heart of their endeavor. At the same time, they can serve as parameters for benchmarking transformative success, remaining challenges and barriers in new and systemically intertwined ways.