Before LocalScale had a name or a team or a Twitter account, it was just an idea driven by a few theories and beliefs. Five core driving forces laid the foundation for an organization now focused on connecting people to places and developing resilient sustainable economies. As our vision, network, and technology has grown, these initial forces continue to serve as the foundational principles that guide us forward.
1. Positive Change Cycle
When we see a problem, we are optimistic about solving it. We see the benefits of change so we brainstorm and strategize for the future. This is often true when we see problems in our changing climate and inequitable systems; we are optimistic about designing solutions, even eager to start the process. However, as it begins to sink in how truly complex, extensive, and urgent the problems are - rising temperatures, finite oil, overpopulation, potential for systemic collapse - it can all seem like we're heading for a wall. We may feel overwhelmed, insignificant, or too late. During this cognitive negativity - an emotional dip into informed pessimism - recalling the Positive Change Cycle can be useful.
The Positive Change Cycle says we experience a range of emotions during change.
That range of emotions has four phases:
1. Uninformed Optimism (We got this!)
2. Informed Pessimism (We don't got this)
3. Informed Optimism (It's tough but we can do this)
4. Success (We did it!)
The most effective method to move through Informed Pessimism is to make realistic plans and take action. Talk to other people, find organizations already working toward solutions, and decide how you can contribute. By acknowledging the reality of the challenge then taking small steps forward, the benefits of our actions will begin to appear, progress becomes possible, and optimism can reassert itself; this process can feel energising, expanding creative boundaries, sparking new ideas, and delivering results.
As we proceed with our best effort at optimism and solutions, we should trust the natural waves of positive and negative emotions and tap into a supportive network of many other people doing important work so we can continue to take action to keep moving forward.
2. Power of Small Wins
Once we take action, it is easy to feel overwhelmed by how much work is really needed to create meaningful change and it's easy to feel like our actions don't matter against the immensity of the problem. Here is where we invite the Power of Small Wins to enter the chat.
The power of smalls wins, or the 'progress principle", is explained in the Harvard Business Review's The Power of Small Wins like this:
Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run...everyday progress -even a small win- can make all the difference in how they feel and perform.
When we think about progress, we often focus on achieving long-term goals or major breakthroughs. However, it is actually the ordinary, incremental progress and small wins which boost our inner mindsets and outward impact tremendously. When we see progress, even small progress, we experience more joy, warmth, and pride; our mood and perception become more upbeat and we see people as more mutually supportive. This cognitive shift not only improves our inner experience, but also improves our ability to be effective changemakers.
To sustain ourselves on the long path to meaningful change, it's important we recognize -and celebrate- the power of everyday progress. Win. Celebrate. Repeat.
3. Two-Loop Theory
Building radically new systems is hard. Existing power structures will resist change. Naysayers will sow doubt. Roadblocks will be discouraging. Every revolution has started like this. Persistence is key when implementing new paradigms. To continually find the courage to break away from current patterns, we have found the Two Loop Theory useful. Purposeful transformations are complicated and the Two-Loop Theory suggests that any meaningful transformation will simultaneously have aspects of disintegration and germination; systems, patterns, policies, beliefs, identities will all paradoxically grow and disintegrate as a transformation develops.,
If we want to push the development of our systems to be better - especially if we want to create positive experiences for people involved in both sides - we should be prepared to continuously embrace and support both the disintegration cycles and the germination cycles, the living and the dying sides of any evolution.
In the paper, "Using Emergence to Take Social Innovation to Scale", Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze from the Berkana Institute say this,
Despite current ads and slogans, the world doesn't change one person at a time. It changes as networks of relationships form among people who discover they share a common cause and vision of what's possibe... When separate local efforts connect with each other as networks, then strengthen as communities of practice, suddenly and surprisingly, a new system emerges at a greater level of scale. This system of influence possesses qualities and capacities that were unknown in the individuals. It isn't that they were hidden; they simply don't exist until the system emerges.
We believe in collaborating with each other to create resilient, regenerative local economies. Collaboration is a LocalScale guiding principle and the foundation of our vision for better systems that serve the people and planet. (Click to collaborate!)
Structural alternatives cannot take root or survive without deeply ingrained values to sustain them.
- Joanna Macy
Running a truly mission-driven company takes integrity, honesty, and a commitment to strong moral principles. Certified B Corporations are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. LocalScale is a certified pending B Corp! B Corps form a community of leaders driving the global movement toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, the creation of more purposeful jobs, and overall positive impact for employees, communities, and the environment. We envision a global economy where business is a force for good and believe the combination of public transparency, legal accountability, and third-party assessment help build trust and value with B Corp certification.
We are witnessing a shift in our civilizations. Circular economies, doughnut economics, regenerative agriculture, and spiritual ecology are all gaining momentum through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. Collaboration and integrity are essential guiding principles in this global awakening and as we continue making daily progress in this purposeful transformation, we look to the Positive Change Cycle for optimism, Power of Small Wins for inspiration, and Two-Loop Theory for embracing the complexity of this evolution.
Illustration: Bob Ross