Note — Aug 22, 2021

How Change Happens

Seen in → No.184

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Daniel Rose from The Moment provides a quick overview of their use of the Berkana Institute’s “Two Loops” theory alongside Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language. Worth a read, although the loop is the part which drew my attention and this video is actually a more detailed explanation: Two Loops: How Systems Change.

It’s a great way to understand some of today’s stalemates in politics: programs need be created to “hospice” workers from the old loop to the new, but politicians prefer simply keeping them on the first, which is much simpler for re-election campaigns.

Aside → Alexander’s lamp v room notion, which Rose mentions, seems to be inspired by Eliel Saarinen’s ”Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” No?

The “2 Loops of Change” model suggests that at any given time in a society, there are “dominant” systems that drive the economy and culture, and there are “emergent” systems and trends that are less well known but making progress to eventually become the dominant system. […]

[A]s dominant systems fade, the people who rely on those dominant systems for income, purpose, and well-being become meaningful contributors to the new system […]

The organizations that will successfully transition from existing in a dominant system to thriving in a new system are the ones that have a culture of openness, learning, and possibility.