“The power of solutions lies primarily in the people who believe in and own them.”
Current approaches to addressing complex social challenges are not working. There is much to celebrate: the number of people involved in change initiatives, the increasing amounts of money being invested in those initiatives, the steadily declining costs of technology, and the attention being given to social innovation. The underlying problems however, from species loss to public debt, continue to grow.
Social fabrics are increasingly strained under loads they were never intended to contain. Inequality is growing. Direct action has become either a strident call for someone else to take action or the frantic alleviation of symptoms that leaves underlying causes largely intact. There’s increasing pressure on individuals to change their behavior around environmental issues and to take on the burden of austerity measures or cuts in basic services. The sociologist Ulrich Beck describes this situation as an attempt to find “individual solutions to systemic contradictions”.