Sunday, November 26, 2017

Change for the Creative Among Us


If you're involved in any sort of change-making, Anthony Weston's How To Re-Imagine the World: A Pocket Guide for Practical Visionaries is for you. Whether your interest is in social change, environmental progress, or any sort of business that needs to adapt to the modern world of 2017 and beyond -- in short, if you're doing pretty much anything! -- this encouraging big-picture exploration of conceptual steps will push your creativity and problem-solving to the next level.

I took lots of notes, knowing I'd return to the strategies again and again. Weston is short on specifics, but what I really need when I get stuck is a nudge to try a new approach, and that's Weston's strength. Who else could see a gigantic American flag, the kind usually flown by car dealerships in an aggressive display of patriotism, and recognize it as a super-effective demonstration of wind power, one that the renewable energy folks could easily adopt to their advantage? Come to think of it, why shouldn't "green power" be slathered with the old Red, White and Blue the way automobiles are?

(I feel compelled at this point to note that the American flag isn't supposed to be used in advertising, but that train has already left the station, so it seems a fair question.) 

Similar shifting perspectives abound in this book, as it moves from recognizing possibilities, embracing opposites, and small interventions that pay off grandly to choosing unconventional allies and reclaiming language for your cause's benefit. Weston's creative coaching is delivered in lively, low-jargon prose that includes anecdotes and examples to keep the focus on the practical.

At the same time, this book is an overview of the process of creating change. The real content must come from the reader. But applying the principles Weston delivers is a terrific place to begin to change the world.   

Excerpt:

We expect to take sides -- and expect that for each issue there will really be only two sides to take. Each side is simple and uncompromising. And yet, surely, when we consider things carefully and are not in the heat of battle, we know that the world is not like that at all. For every issue, there are multiple sides, not just two; each of them is itself complex and uncertain even on key  points  and  they  overlap  in  unexpected  and  suggestive ways. . . . Another approach to conflict is possible. The same battle-scarred and all-too-familiar landscapes can be viewed in [a] very different and more creatively empowering way -- the way of common cause.

Note: This book counts toward the Color Coded Reading Challenge and the 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.

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