Art of Change
You may have heard sentiments like ‘pandemic as portal’ or calls for a ’new normal,’ spelling out an optimism for turning the Covid-19 crisis into a revolutionary act of systemic re-alignment. Sometimes change feels like a euphoric tide, a sweeping in of the new, a coup of creative destruction. Or as historian Christopher Hill wrote of the English radicals of the 1640s, like “a door that opens widely… and then suddenly closes.” In other moments, social change feels like a hard-won and gradual chipping away of the status quo. An act of pragmatic and hard-nosed dedication and craftsmanship.
For 250-years, the RSA has cultivated an identity for stewarding progressive change. Today with over 29,000 Fellows around the world and with countless more allies working to drive transformation in society, we want to pause and put a lens on the art of change-making itself and interrogate our assumptions and common myths around how we make change in society. In this interactive session we will share our meditations around the art and science of social change and invite group discussion around some driving questions:
- What do we collectively know about making social change in the world?
- What theories of change do we hold? How does social change happen?
- How do we know if a system is ripe for change?
- Why does change so often fail?
- What are the obstacles to change we have faced?
- What strategies and tactics for social change are we optimistic about?
- Is social change an art or are there patterns and mechanics we can learn from?
- How is this current crisis transforming our identities as change-makers?
Alexa leads the RSA US – overseeing research, Fellowship, and thought leadership development across key U.S. cities on topics related to inclusive growth, universal basic income, economic democracy, and creativity and education. She is helping to accelerate cross-city collaboration and the scaling of social innovation. An economic historian turned ethnographer, Alexa is a leading speaker and expert on subculture and innovation from unlikely places. She is the co-author of the Misfit Economy (Simon & Schuster 2015), a book that explores underground and informal innovation. Previously, Alexa co-founded Wisdom Hackers, an incubator for philosophical inquiry and the Co-Founder of the League of Intrapreneurs, a movement to create change from within incumbent systems and big organizations. Alexa has previously held positions heading up research and learning Ashoka and as a consultant at SustainAbility Ltd. Alexa has written and appeared in Fast Company, Forbes, Wired, Dazed and Confused, VICE, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times and MTV. She is a regular commentator on topics related to economic transition, misfit subculture, social innovation and technology angst. She received her BA from Brown University and a MSc. from Oxford University. Alexa is based in Philadelphia, PA. She has a love of hermits and Walden Pond.