Theory of Change (Part 1) with Nina Thüllen & Karin Küblbock

Aug 13, 2017 by

by Issam Eddine Abail & Paulus Higginson

The AEMS summer school has been a great opportunity for all of us to learn new alternative tools and concepts in different fields related to economics and monetary systems. That made us eager to apply what we have learnt to deliver positive change to our societies and local communities. But how can we deliver change? Our morning with Nina & Karin was all about reflections to answer this question through the process of Theory of Change. The first part of the Theory of Change workshop was all about framing our change project by defining the issue behind it, the context and the strategy and tactics to create the solutions. In the afternoon, we worked on designing the actual solutions.

To be specific, we came up with objectives for our workshop. First we needed to become aware of the key steps needed to design a change process, then how we can identify a goal and develop a compelling strategy and set of tactics to achieve it. But most importantly to become aware of our personal role as individuals in this process of change.

Our first activity in the workshop was to understand what change looks like. As participants, we were required to reflect on stories of change that we experienced in the past and what were the characteristics of that change. All stories had in common the human aspect, showing that change happens with and for the people. Change also requires taking responsibility and risks, with responsibility being an actual act of power. Which led us to our second activity where we talked about the different models of power that exist, focusing on two models by Gene Sharp:

–       The monolithic power where power is concentrated in the hands of the few who are supported by the base of the pyramid (police, army, big corporates, etc…).

–       The people’s power, where the monolithic pyramid of power is inverted and where the people take charge of their own destiny and create positive change for themselves and for others.

Our third activity of the morning was about designing a change campaign, we learnt about this process through working on a example. The participants were asked to propose ideas they’re passionate about. The group agreed on working on a “Transformational Learning Space for Sustainable Solutions”  which we developed through the process of the cycle of change. Firstly, we discussed the context in which we want to achieve our campaign. Secondly, we investigated the issue itself by exploring its impact via its history and economic, legal, political, environmental and social aspects. The last step was to design the solutions itself by determining its objectives, strategy tactics and responsiveness. This exercise was quite challenging in a big group such as the AEMS where people had sometimes different understandings of the issue but also different strategies to tackle it. Nevertheless, we were able to suggest good ideas and data that helped us to understand the problem and start designing the solution especially through the work we did in our smaller groups.