The Compassionate Systems Theory of Change

Most of our attempts to make change rely on a belief that people can change, that change is possible. Of course, this is true—but just barely. So, this is not much of a theory of change, but rather a Theory of Unchange—a theory of why change is so hard. Our brains are physically limited in [...]

Language shapes our thoughts? Who cares?

Despite being regular humans with the same eyeballs as the rest of us, did you know that if a language has words that finely differentiate shades of blue and green, the speakers of that language are better able to distinguish colours in the blue-green range? This is just one of the Five examples of how [...]

On Democracy, Meaning, & Feeling Insane.

(or, When in doubt, plant beans.)

In British Columbia—where we live the Small and Delicious Life—it has been just twelve hours since the election was called for the expand-business-as-usual B.C. Liberal Party. For a little excitement, the leader of the party lost her riding, and so a byelection is likely in the near future. After the election was called by media [...]

Compassionate Systems—behaviour change and invasive species slidecast.

Why is changing behaviour so hard? In this slidecast I share a way of answering that question, and how Compassionate Systems can increase the effectiveness of our work. This was recorded at the Invasive Species forum in Richmond, BC, in January 2013. Apologies for the occasionally tinny sound—and, of course, it is only a slidecast. [...]

Compassionate Systems

We are swamped with requests—seductions—for our attention. Most of these will fail, and if you are in the business of changing people—say you work for a government or non-profit—most of your work will fail too. This is because change hurts. Behaviour is hard to change, and we make it harder by ignoring basic facts of [...]