Friday, May 4, 2012
Self-organisation as a powerful change agent
In Approaches to change, Andrea Gewessler about the motivation behind current participative bottom up approaches as they are experimented with in Vorarlberg and eastern Switzerland:

"[...] they intended to adopt the approach of looking at what was not working as well as they wanted so that they could learn from their mistakes and improve. At that opportune moment they stumbled across Appreciative Inquiry (AI) and investigated what was working already instead. One of the big revelations was that their communities are already self-organising and that this self-organisation is a powerful change agent. So what works is creating an enabling environment rather than one that imposes change from the top. As a result of this finding, they revisited their entire approach to change. Instead of going into communities with a project idea such as an energy campaign, they offered communities their support with their own concerns that they wanted to work on and find solutions for."

"[...] The main fear that politicians have is that citizens could come up with fanciful wishes that require abundant financial resources and that are just not do-able. However, experience has shown that the opposite is the case – citizens generally recognise what is working and consider it their own responsibility to improve things further. Insights like this can only come from the people."

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