by Jason A. Samfield

Coalitions and Change in our Systems

by Augusto Cuginotti

Last weekend a group gathered in the south of Sweden to explore society as a system and how we can make coalitions to scale up our work towards supporting it to thrive.

Here are some of my explorations based on the group’s reflections. Quotes are based on direct contributions from participants.

How do we change our Systems?

Explorations went around both changes perceived to come from outside and inside the systems we are in.

We have heard stories about changes in the system coming from stronger environmental changes or constraints that invited the system to adapt (example of How Cuba Survived Peak Oil).

We also explored the role of listening with attention from within so we can identify the cracks in the system that might lead to change. The cracks would be the people and places where we invest our energy.

What are the coalitions we have to make to change our systems?

Who should be with us? How can we identify them? We explored the difference between inviting people who are ready instead of the process of identifying people.

Focusing on listening and supporting people with similar frequencies would empower the creation of “multiple alternatives to allow transition to the new”.

The invitation to others is to stand with us in coalition in a place of “turbulence at the edge of the unknown”. The question then became “How do we invite people to come along in an uncertain journey?” and also “What do we need to cope with uncertainty ourselves?”.

What are the signs that I smell in the system that make me stay?

We also explored the question of the decision of staying within the system or leaving. When is it better to stay and how does that reflect in personal sacrifice and compromise? When is it better to walk away and focus our energy in another place? What is it that I identify in a system that makes me stay?

On the last question:

  • I stay in the system when my inputs are valid and when there is a sense of movement and openness to explore;
  • When my personal goal has a place in the organisational goal;
  • When there are strong relationships;
  • When there is sense of being at service, of making ‘essential’ contributions to the whole.

Turbulence at the Edge of the Unknown

At this time, these are the points for reflection in how we create spaces for coalitions to emerge and how we scale up our work towards a more thriving society:

  1. Listen and resonate with the environment so we can find and create cracks in systems;
  2. Naming alternatives to allow the creation of meaningful new paths;
  3. Focus in doing what we are doing and nothing else – Pay Attention;
  4. Support similar frequencies in the system – put energy in what you want to see growing;
  5. Make an invitation to whoever is ready and host the space no matter how many people come.