Adam Kahane is writing a new book, and is inviting collaborators to join a Book Club to participate in online conversations about this subject with him and fellow practitioners, share experiences with practicing the everyday habits, and read and give feedback on draft chapters. Sign up here
Adam Kahane is a Director of Reos Partners, an international social impact company that helps people move forward together on their most important and intractable issues.
Adam is a leading organiser, designer and facilitator of processes through which business, government, and civil society leaders can work together to address such challenges. He has worked in more than fifty countries, in every part of the world, with executives and politicians, generals and guerrillas, civil servants and trade unionists, community activists and United Nations officials, clergy and artists.
Adam is the author of Solving Tough Problems, about which Nelson Mandela said:
“This breakthrough book addresses the central challenge of our time: finding a way to work together to solve the problems we have created.”
He is also the author of Power and Love, Transformative Scenario Planning, Collaborating with the Enemy, and Facilitating Breakthrough.
Adam is a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2022 he was named a Social Innovator of the Year by Schwab Foundation.
Explore Adam's books
Making progress on complex, problematic situations requires a new approach to working together: transformative facilitation, a structured and creative process for removing the obstacles to fluid forward movement. This book is for anyone who helps people work together to transform their situation.
Throughout his work on major issues like democracy and climate change, Adam has learned that our conventional understanding of collaboration is wrong. In this groundbreaking book, he suggests a new approach to collaboration that embraces discord, experimentation, and genuine co-creation.
Transformative scenario planning is a powerful new methodology for dealing with complex economic, social, and environmental challenges. At a time when divisions within and among societies are keeping so many people from making progress on critical issues, this book offers hope—and a proven approach— for moving forward together.
In Power and Love, Adam delves deeply in the dual nature of power and love, exploring their complex and intricate interplay. With disarming honesty he relates how, through trial and error, he learned to balance between them, shifting from one to the other as though learning to walk—at first falling, then stumbling forward, and finally moving purposefully toward true, lasting reconciliation and progress.
Through his experience working on some of the world’s toughest societal problems, Adam learned to create environments that enable new ideas and innovative solutions to emerge even in the most polarized contexts. Here he tells his stories and distills from them an approach all of us can use to solve our own toughest problems—at home, at work, in our communities, and in national and international affairs.
Selected articles about Adam's work
Adam Kahane’s book Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2010) opens with a quote from one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s most famous speeches, his last presidential speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. “Power without love,” said King, “is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic.”
"The most important trap not to fall into is the idea that a situation like this can be understood and worked on from outside and above. It can't be. It won't work," Kahane told me. "And only if you work in a way that involves the people who are involved — and the way they understand the situation and the way they understand it can be addressed — is it possible to move forward. Otherwise you'll get stuck and you'll replicate the top-down, expert, patriarchal way of doing things, which got us in the mess we're in."
THE WILD CULTURE INTERVIEW. Juan Manuel Santos, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 "for his resolute efforts to bring the country's more than 50-year-long civil war to an end" in Colombia, gives him partial credit for this success. "Adam Kahane," writes Santos, "shows us a path we can take to build more positive leadership — serious, reflective, democratic." In this recent interview with Kahane, our conversation covers his work in South Africa, Colombia, recently with the group Possible Mexicos, and, how rather than being proud of our gifts, we need to use them. § This interview was conducted on February 12, 2019 with Adam Kahane in Montreal and Whitney Smith and Beatrice Briggs in Tepoztlán, Mexico.
Adam Kahane worked with us on the future of our country. The four scenarios we built have come to life one after another, and today we are living the best one. In Transformative Scenario Planning, Kahane explains how scenario planning can transform the future. In Colombia we can attest that such transformation is really possible.
Juan Manuel Santos
Juan Manuel Santos
Former president of Colombia; winner, Nobel Peace Prize
Kahane addresses an important challenge that we face every day: how can we move forward together in situations where we are in conflict and unable to construct a shared vision of the future? In doing this he overturns conventional practice—including his own—and proposes a new approach to collaboration that is better suited to our difficult current context.
Jan Kees Vis
Global Director, Sustainable Sourcing Development, Unilever
Adam Kahane proposes a solid and clear methodology, supported by his experience in the many processes in which he has participated, that invites us to defy our situation and to transform—not only to change—it, beginning by transforming ourselves.
Luis Raúl González Pérez
President, National Human Rights Commission, Mexico
Our societies face really hard problems—poverty, injustice, unsustainability, corruption—that are insoluble by conventional means. Conflicts of interest and profound uncertainties about the future are producing paralysis and inaction. Adam Kahane has, more than anyone, developed and successfully employed tools that enable us to create futures of shared progress and profit.
Senior Vice President, Salesforce.com, and author of The Art of the Long View
Transformative Scenario Planning is a deeply human book that offers tangible means for tackling the intractable problems that confront us at every level of life, from domestic and local to national and beyond. It offers realistic, grounded hope of genuine transformation, and its insights and lessons should be part of the toolbox of everyone in leadership roles.
Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town
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