Sunday, July 12, 2009

Where does change come from?

Where does positive social change come from? My answer to this question is that it can come from potentially anywhere and everywhere.

That potential - for positive social change to come from individuals, non-governmental organizations, communities, businesses, worship groups - is why the changes in the philanthropic capital markets, development of real social capital markets, and the government 2.0 movement are so interesting to me. Think of the roles played by restaurants, food policy groups, individual farmers, co-ops, nonprofit associations, and consumers play in the organic food movement. Or the ways that consumer product companies, government agencies, local ad campaigns, professional associations, and scientists played in efforts to fluoridate water - advancing health across the U.S. Or the roles played by philanthropic foundations and public agencies in building public health departments or emergency response (911) systems across the country. Change is hard, can come from anywhere, and often needs help from lots of different factions.

This reality is why this article in the Christian Science Monitor, which posits that Twitter might be deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize for its role in facilitating worldwide awareness of "hope, heroism and horror in Iran" is really important in my mind. I'm not talking about this particular example of Twitter, but of the larger principle that achieving huge social goals such as peace will require contributions from all sectors and groups. Real change may come from anywhere.

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