https://4sdfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/05/francesco-ungaro-MJ1Q7hHeGlA-unsplash.jpg 1125 1500 thuy.nguyen https://4sdfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/03/Logo-white.svg thuy.nguyen2023-05-10 12:16:172023-05-10 12:16:17Reflecting on Our Times: Valuing Transformative Leadership in Real-World “Living Systems”
Reflecting on Our Times: Valuing Transformative Leadership in Real-World “Living Systems”
Article on living systems by John Atkinson, Florence Lasbennes and David Nabarro from the American Journal of Evaluation.
Citation: Atkinson, J., Lasbennes, F., & Nabarro, D. (2021). Reflecting on Our Times: Valuing Transformative Leadership in Real-World “Living Systems.” American Journal of Evaluation, 42(1), 130–138. https://doi.org/10.1177/1098214020982071
We present this brief reflection on key aspects of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the implications of the worldwide focus on achieving the sustainable development goals as external observers of the evaluation endeavor around the world. We have conducted and participated in evaluations, but it is not our primary field of work and we are not engaged in the global community of evaluation specialists. However, we believe that the urgency of the challenges confronting the world today should inspire those influencing and shaping evaluation internationally to focus much more fiercely on the value of evaluation and its implications for leadership at all levels and in all fields of work. We propose that evaluation as practice should support and help inspire, value, and evaluate the type of leadership that the world needs now—dynamic and purposeful “living systems” leaders working toward large-scale, drastic change.
Living Systems Leadership (EXTRACT)
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (ASD) encourages people and nations to work together when tackling deep systemic issues. This requires a holistic approach across issues and geographies that is best advanced through systems thinking. Designs and plans that are based on linear models of change, and achieving results through matching specific solutions to individual problems, can add value in specific situations but are poorly suited when groups of diverse actors have to come together to tackle the complex issues the world faces today. When actors with very different interests join hands to encourage meaningful systems change, they need innovative leadership styles that are based on systems thinking and complexity science concepts. Of particular importance is living systems leadership.
The living systems approach to change focuses on systems that display the key characteristics of life, in particular people and their connectedness within the natural and societal ecosystems on which all life depends (Capra & Luisi, 2019). Living systems continuously evolve as a result of changes in the behaviors of those within them. The success of initiatives to adapt living systems in line with the 2030 ASD therefore depends greatly on how the process of adaptation is being led, hence the need to focus on the qualities of living systems leaders who can inspire, nurture, and guide humanity in directions strategically aligned toward achieving the 2030 ASD—and now, also dealing with the long-term aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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