Understanding Transformative Change

What is Transformative Change?

The term ‘transformative change’ is being increasingly used by the development community to highlight the nature of change required in the face of stacking odds. But what is transformative change?

Prof. Kai Chan, Coordinating Lead Author for The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment defines it thus: “Transformative change means doing things differently—not just a little more or less of something we’re already doing. (…) truly transformative change is change that becomes sweeping. It often starts small, but it is strategic. It includes individual decisions to help start or build new social norms, and the legal changes that unlock all kinds of other change.”

The Curio-city Collective Approach

a. Power of Individual Change

In his book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives, Nicholas Christakis shares the extraordinary ways in which we profoundly influence each other even sub-consciously. He uses an example saying: “We discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend gained weight, you gained weight. We discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend stopped smoking, you stopped smoking. And we discovered that if your friend’s friend’s friend became happy, you became happy.

At TCC we understand this and hope to harness this influence of individuals towards bringing positive transformative change within communities. Individual well-being, as we see it, is deeply linked with the spaces and places individual’s are embedded within – be it their socio-cultural or ecological environment. Hence, the experience of change too can be deeply interlinked and flows in various directions – from you to the communities you inhabit and vice versa.

b. Creating Change

We believe that in order to bring about a ‘different way of doing things’, as is the ask of our times, we need two elements. The first element is to build a new narrative of what the nature of this change is. At TCC we do this through our podcasts, our articles and the deep conversations we are building through our series on Intentional Living.

TCC’s model for Transformative Change

The second is catalytic projects – projects which begin to experiment with the new narrative through the practice of it. Practice could imply deeper engagement through critical reading and reflection, by undertaking small actions which change how we engage with the world such as composting, and a myriad such ways in which we learn to inhabit and become the change we wish to see in the world. In order to support this, TCC hopes to create communities around specific catalytic projects in coming days. Our reading club – Reading Circle – is one such initiative.

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