The role of values in transformational change

Cover ImageIn June 2015 I helped organise a roundtable with Tom Crompton, founder of the Common Cause Foundation. With around 30 participants we had to drop our original plan for a literal round-a-table-discussion, and designed a more structured approach which created a powerful mix of strategic input, stimulating discussion and deep personal reflection.

Participants decided that:

The Role of Values in Transformational Change is…

  • Fundamental and complex
  • Important to understand
  • Relevant to meaning and narratives
  • Provides a framework for reflection
  • Provides a framework for engagement

And said they would therefore like to…

  • Understand more about values and how they work
  • Open up meaningful conversations
  • Explore and use narratives
  • Work with organisational values
  • Bring values into what they do

You can download a note of the event: The-Role-of-Values-in-Transformational-Change-Final

Natural Change Outdoor Education: Turning Personal Transformation into Social Action, Leadership and Sustainability


As an Associate Natural Change Facilitator I’ll be helping run this week long workshop in Hungary for youth workers and group facilitators from across Europe. This is an ERASMUS+ programme and a few funded places are available for eligible participants from Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, Romania, Spain.

Despite what the website (below) says, the closing date is 19 July. And if you aren’t from one of the eligible countries or miss the deadline by a few days, I’d say there’s no harm in contacting the organiser Krisztina Pásztor to discuss possibilities.

Find out more here…

Of course, if Hungary is too far away, you can also find Introduction to Facilitating Natural Change courses slightly closer to home here…

Shifting Normal: How to use the Four Questions & Four Zones framework with your team


Paired discussion at my workshop on the Shifting Normal guide at the CCF Gathering in Glasgow.
Paired discussion at my workshop on the Shifting Normal guide at the CCF Gathering in Glasgow.

Earlier this year I was commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a guide for community groups based on the ISM model. The guide – Shifting Normal – was launched at the CCF Gathering in June, where I ran two workshops introducing the Four Questions, Four Zones framework.

Shifting Normal

Feedback was extremely positive and many people took away multiple copies to use with their groups. The guide and accompanying material is available here.

On Thursday 16th July I’ll be running a day long workshop at KSB offices in Stirling:

Shifting Normal: How to use the Four Questions & Four Zones framework with your team

The Four Questions and Four Zones framework is designed to help community groups tackling climate change maximise their success by taking account of how change happens. Based on the Individual Social and Material (ISM) Tool developed for the Scottish Government, it also draws on the experience of community groups.

In this workshop you will learn how the framework can be used when planning, carrying out and reviewing your projects activities. You will develop your skills and confidence as a facilitator to run workshops using the framework with your staff and volunteer team, and also with members of the wider community.

Booking here…

The role of values in transformational change


I’m helping organise a round table discussion with Tom Crompton at the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation on 25th June:

The role of values in transformational change: Implications for action on climate change, resilience and sustainability

How can we achieve the transformational change many see as essential to solve some of our time’s knotty issues?
What is the role of our values in creating this change?
Can we use a values framework to initiate and consolidate transformational change?

These are some of the questions we are inviting you to discuss with a group of practitioners also interested in transformational change in relation to climate change, resilience and sustainability.

This round table will be introduced by Tom Crompton, author of Common Cause. He will challenge the group to create an ongoing dialogue about values as the basis for transformational change, beyond the role of communication campaigns.

About Tom Crompton

177272Tom Crompton, Ph.D. has worked for nearly a decade with some of the UK’s best known charities – including NSPCC, Oxfam, Scope and WWF – on values and social change.

He has advised the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments on issues related to cultural values, has collaborated in research with some of the world’s foremost academics working in this area, and has published numerous articles on cultural values in both academic and popular journals.

He holds a first degree in Natural Sciences (University of Cambridge, UK) and a doctorate on the evolution of altruism (University of Leicester, UK).

Places are strictly limited. Please register here…


Martin Luther King Jr – Ecological Thinker

“I have a dream” is perhaps one of the most instantly recognisable speeches of the twentieth century, but apart from that I’ve known little about Martin Luther King. So I was delighted to discover he was an ecological thinker. Ahead of his time? or revealing universal truths?

Along with his well-known worldview of prophetic Christianity, interconnection and interdependence were central to his thinking, and consistent themes in his rhetoric. King saw reality as an interlacing network of relationships, viewed the nations and peoples of the planet as one, and linked various social injustices, saying, “All of these problems are tied together.” “One cannot be concerned just with civil rights. It is very nice to drink milk at an unsegregated lunch counter—but not when there’s Strontium 90 in it.”

via Martin Luther King Jr – Ecological Thinker :: drew dellinger.

Developing the ISM tool for communities


The ISM (Individual Social & Material) Tool was originally developed to help policy makers engage people and influence their behaviours to deliver improved outcomes, strengthening low carbon policies and delivery. I’ve been commissioned by the Scottish Government to develop a version for communities working on climate change issues. Continue reading “Developing the ISM tool for communities”

Science and values can’t be separated

Gavin Schmidt argues that once scientists enter a charged public debate, they will inevitably be perceived as advocating for one side or the other – whether or not that is their intention. And it fact…

it is almost always the case that a scientist speaking in public is in fact advocating for something—deeper public understanding of the science, more research funding, a more informed public discourse, awareness, and, yes, sometimes for specific policy action. Each of these examples is a reflection of both a scientific background and a set of values that, for instance, might prize an informed populace or continued research employment.

He recommends scientists recognise, and are explicit about their own values:

Responsible advocates are up-front about what is being advocated for and how the intersection of values and science led to that position. On the other hand, it is irresponsible to proclaim that there are no values involved, or to misrepresent what values are involved. Responsible advocacy must acknowledge that the same scientific conclusions may not lead everyone to the same policies (because values may differ). Assuming that one’s own personal values are universal, or that disagreement on policy can be solved by recourse to facts alone, is a common mistake.

Much of relevance here to anyone engaging in public debates of this kind, professional scientist or not.

via What should climate scientists advocate for?.

Save the hero, save the world?

Stories are powerful ways to communicate, indeed in my work I often encourage people to consider using ‘narrative’ to engage others more effectively.

But stories can be damaging and disempowering, especially ‘hero’ stories when essential elements of the original message are lost and forgotten:

The Jungian analysts, Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette, have summarised this problem within contemporary Western culture as our desperate reliance on heroes to solve our current crises.

These stories of heroism have been misinterpreted to not only create an interpassivity among some, as they wait for salvation, but also lead others into a language of war, in which humanity attacks, conquers and dominates the hostile natural world. Self-proclaimed heroes look to expand their dominion over the planet and exploit resources in the name of saving humanity.

more here: Save the hero, save the world | Positive News.