Social innovation in societal challenges
The theme of this writing is that we got to move†. The world around us is changing. We, as members of a particular society, have no other option but to adapt to face changing conditions and beliefs. Take for example climate change that is likely to have a large impact on our lives in the decades to come. It is well-researched and commonly accepted that climate change is caused by exhaustion of natural resources like oil, gas and coal. However, not everyone agrees. There are leaders who dismiss the theory of man induced climate change as a delusion arguing that climate change has natural causes. Nevertheless, the world at large has to do something because species are endangered to extinction and some people already have to deal with life-threatening conditions such as flooding, forest fires, and water shortage. We got to move and we have to do this collectively with a common purpose, otherwise the problems caused by climate change will be beyond control in the future. In the process of adaptation, sacrifices have to be made to reduce our footprint. Not everyone is willing to pay this price making the process seemingly doomed from the start: too little, too late. So, what can we do to act appropriately?
Of course, climate change is a large, so-called wicked problem. Wicked problems have several characteristics in common, including the following:
- causes and effects of a problem are not well understood or even denied;
- stakeholders have different values and opinions;
- it is typically unclear what measures should be taken.
Other wicked problems include geo-political conflicts causing mass immigration, expensive and insufficient healthcare, and poverty and other forms of social injustice. These world-wide wicked problems cannot be solved easily. This does not mean, however, that we cannot do anything about it. We want to send a message of hope. The maxim is: think globally, act locally. The social theory of a sustainable, collaborative learning society discussed in this book provides a way to do so. The social theory can be regarded as a social innovation process with which arguably desirable and culturally feasible changes can be implemented thereby guaranteeing that these changes will have a lasting impact. This can start locally but has the potential to expand to a much larger scope.
† The title of this (online) book - We got to move - was inspired by the spiritual song You gotta move. Formally speaking, the phrase - We got to move - should be written as: We've got to move.
- You gotta move, Wikipedia, 9 september 2022.