Empowerment Institute offers an original and comprehensive roadmap to bring about transformative social change that it calls Social Change 2.0. What follows is a brief explanation of this approach and a description of several large Empowerment Institute initiatives using this transformational framework and methodology.
View a short video of David Gershon talking about Social Change 2.0 with Deepak Chopra. Click here.
So many of the assumptions we have been operating with as a human community have proven faulty that we must literally re-envision them. And with the accelerating unraveling of our planet’s life support system and the deterioration of so many of our social systems, we are being called on to create rapid transformative change. But the current social change tools at our disposal of governmental command and control, financial incentives and citizen protest— Social Change 1.0—were designed for slow-moving, incremental change.
Not only must we reinvent our world, but also the process by which we achieve this reinvention. According to systems theory, when the current solutions prove inadequate for the magnitude of change required, a system goes into stress and begins to breakdown. What is required to help the system evolve is a second order change solution—or solution capable of transforming and reorganizing it at a higher level of performance and social value. Empowerment Institute’s Social Change 2.0 framework and methodology represents such a solution for our social systems.
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To bring about the large scale transformations needed for humankind to evolve and enable us to have a viable planet to inhabit, we need leadership schooled in the competencies of transformative social change. With our planet on the line and with such a propitious opening for positive change available to us, this is not the time for change leaders to be foundering. We all need to be playing at our best. To that end Empowerment Institute has developed a variety of programs to build this capacity from our certification program, to our master class webinar series, to Social Change 2.0 study circles as well as other programs.
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What follows in the modules below are three of the larger Empowerment Institute Social Change 2.0 initiatives. Each is designed to address a gateway issue. That is an issue that opens up the possibility for addressing a host of other societal needs inextricably connected with it. The three initiatives described are women’s empowerment in the developing world, climate change mitigation with cities and individuals, and peace building around the world.
Each is summarized with a link to a fuller description that explains the specific transformative social change blueprint being deployed. Each initiative is designed as a game changer. That is, when brought to scale, each has the potential to change the pattern in the field around the particular issue it addresses. Each of these initiatives can also serve as a transformative social change blueprint for comparable endeavors.
IMAGINE is a global initiative for the empowerment of women. It enables women in challenging life circumstances in developing world countries to envision and create new possibilities for their life, family and community through participation in Empowerment Institute’s flagship transformational training program, the Empowerment Workshop. IMAGINE’s focus is on women because they have been identified as the key leverage point to further development in counties of the global south. IMAGINE is currently being implemented through Empowerment Institute partner organizations in Afghanistan, Kenya, India, Jordan, Nigeria, South Africa, and Sudan. IMAGINE’s long-term goal is to change the game around development. To learn more click here.
Cool City Challenge is an initiative to reinvent our cities from the bottom up to achieve dramatic carbon reduction, resilient neighborhoods, and green economic development. Empowerment Institute over the past two decades has developed a proven methodology to help cities empower citizens to reduce their carbon footprint by 25 percent through the Low Carbon Diet EcoTeam program and a strategy to achieve between 25 and 75 percent household participation.
The Cool City Challenge is designed to bring this transformative social innovation to scale first in three demonstration cities and then worldwide. It is being implemented in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Cool City Challenge’s long-term goal is to change the game around greenhouse gas reduction in cities and provide a viable path forward to address climate change. To learn more click here.
“For me and many others, the First Earth Run is one of the most inspiring events of the twentieth century. A Dream for our World moves it into the twenty-first century by helping us see its relevance and providing us the tools to translate its inspiration into practical action in our world.” —Peter van Luttervelt, director of Global Action Plan, Netherlands
A Dream for Our World tells the story of how the First Earth Run created a unitive moment on our planet when wars stopped and people came together in the spirit of cooperation. It invites us to expand our vision of the possible.
At the height of the cold war, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund and ABC Television, this event using the mythic power of passing a torch of peace around the world, was able to attract the participation of twenty-five million people in sixty-two countries, the world’s political leadership and, through the media, an estimated 20 percent of the planet’s population in an act of global unity. Millions of dollars were also raised to help UNICEF provide care for the neediest children of the world. Empowerment Institute has translated the lessons it learned from organizing this event into seven templates for creating a more connected and peaceful world. To learn more click here.
The Empowerment Institute Certification Program, led by David Gershon and Gail Straub is a school for transformative social change. It provides participants the design knowledge, skills and tools to further second order change at the personal, organizational, community and societal levels. Each participant specializes in one of the six empowerment tracks and is assisted in developing a successful transformational application. Click here for more information on the certification program.
David Gershon offers participants the knowledge to design a transformative change strategy and the leadership skills to implement it. This training is based on David’s three decades as a social architect and practitioner of transformative change. This is not offered as a public training and is customized to the specific needs of the group or organization. To learn more click here.
This training is an introduction to the empowerment methodology taught in the Empowerment Institute Certification Program. It provides the empowerment foundation on which second order change strategies can be built. To learn more click here.
An introduction to the Social Change 2.0 philosophy and framework.
“Social Change 2.0 exhilarates. David Gershon has not just laid out a compelling and coherent blueprint for social change, but the vividly written stories he shares make us realize that what we thought was impossible can actually be achieved. Having been a political leader in Portland for twenty years, where I worked closely with David, I saw firsthand the power of his work to change the lives of thousands of people. He may well be the number one expert on social change in our country.”– Mike Lindberg, former Commissioner of Public Utilities and city council member, City of Portland, Oregon
Click here to purchase Social Change 2.0
To learn more about the Social Change 2.0 framework, read the free download from the book's introduction, "Reinventing Social Change."
Reinventing Social Change
“This book is a practical and inspiring roadmap to the future we all know is possible. I know of no one more experienced to create such a roadmap than David Gershon, who has spent the past three decades empowering individuals and communities, as well as business and government leaders. I have looked forward to this book for some time to gain a deeper understanding of how David has initiated so much positive change and created so many innovative strategies to help people achieve their visions for a better world.”—Hazel Henderson, author of "Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and Building a Win-Win World