Rethinking Social Change in Modern Times

WHEN: December 22, 2017, 9AM-5PM
WHAT: You are invited to a special circle of remarkable change-makers (like Sister Lucy and Naseema Didi) and philanthropists (like Rohini Nilekani and Anu Aga) on Dec 22nd, 9AM-5PM, in Bombay.

The overall theme of our circle is to start to frame social change with a broader range of metrics, explore philanthropy from the lens of transformation, and brainstorm unexpected innovations that could be hiding in plain sight. Underneath, though, the invitation is more to spend a day together as friends, without a particular agenda, and trust in the emergence of our collective field. :)

In context of social change, today's societal ills no longer arise from simple, linear causes and hence, our traditional, generalized solutions are proving to be grossly ineffective. Our increasingly complex world, with interlocking causes and effects, is an entirely different landscape. We are now more at risk for obesity than starvation. We are more like to commit suicide than be killed in conflict. Despite all our new technologies, solving problems like global warming and rising inequality remain elusive. The systemic, social and spiritual divides are at all-time highs. And yet, as Peter Drucker wisely points out, "The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence -- it is to act with yesterday's logic."

On Dec 22nd, a group of inspired change-makers are coming together to live into some potential new logic, that perhaps might lend itself to some radical innovations.

Fortunately, many around the world are on the same page. Frederic Laloux, in his ground-breaking business book, chronicles repeated examples of "teal organizations" who do away with command-and-control hierarchies in favor of agile, self-organizing flocks -- even with thousands of paid staff. How do we reinvent organizations to shift from ego-system to eco-system? Renowned Harvard professor, Michael Sandel, has written extensively about how markets crowd out morals, and that life's most precious resources should be left priceless. Could it be that the next revolution will not be funded? South African economist, Lorenzo Fioramanti, authored How Numbers Rule the World with numerous examples of communities that self-assess high levels of well being despite not being materially well off. What are the new metrics that "count what counts"? President Obama signed off on a document that spoke to cultivating multiple forms of capital: social, informational, experiential, spiritual, emotional, natural and cultural. Can we have education system that amplifies compassion quotient, and incubator that builds projects with time capital, and venture fund that is proficient in the alchemy of turning financial capital into community capital? The potential is limitless.

How would you like to innovate social change? Clearly, there's no one right answer, but if you'd like to be in dialogue to push some boundaries -- personally and collectively -- we'd love for you to join our circle on Dec 22nd.

For the last 20 years of ServiceSpace, we've been focusing on leveraging volunteerism to nurture a richer and denser social fabric -- which has ultimately led to insights around a shift transaction to transformation. While its manifestations are new, its roots are "old as hills". Gandhi-ji and Vinoba, for instance, were known to invite their most able "satyagrahis" to move into remote parts of India with three things: a broom, a book of wisdom, and a musical instrument. Nirmala Deshpande, for example, described how she went to South India once: "I had no money, I knew no one, I didn't even speak the language." When she arrived, she started by serving the community -- often simply by sweeping the roads. Over time, connections inevitably emerged. The locals would offer her a space in the village commons, like a temple, to sleep in. As her daily service deepened, so did the community connections; and as she assembled those new resources creatively to create new value in the community, a virtuous cycle emerged. Within a short time, the entire village would be transformed and she would continue to another village.

On Dec 22nd (9AM-5PM), in Mumbai, several dozen change-makers are coming together for a day-long retreat (hosted by Drishti!). Given your rich experience with social change, we felt that your presence and insights would be a huge asset for our conversation (which will also include a dialogue on transformational philanthropy). Beyond this circle, I also feel that the rich Indian spiritual heritage allows us to offer some uncommon and deep insights into a global conversation around these topics.

To join simply RSVP below, and you'll be emailed the logistical details as we get closer.
HOST:Smita Navare

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