Every attempt to advocate for change in a target is an attempt to introduce novelty into that target system. Because we give such deference to plans and measurable objectives, we tend to restrict our view of the usefulness of novelty to whatever might be a part of our current plan.
But the ability of “newness” to support change goes far beyond the direct connection we impose on our change plans between our goals and our change activities. An environment or atmosphere of potential change can drive our initiatives to greater scope and overall impact. That is, the environment can do a great deal of our work for us, if we will include it in our change plans.
Novelty has more impact if the target sees it disturbing the current system from multiple directions. A novelty seems more inevitable if it is supported from, for example, different levels of government, in many different media, from many different sources, and from many different stakeholder groups.
It is worth your effort to support such broad-based evidence of support for the change you want. While you can’t orchestrate such converging evidence of the potential for a change, you can make the most of what convergence there is by using social media, and you can provoke evidence of the importance of the change for which you are advocating by letting a broad audience of potential stakeholders know of the importance of your change work. The community of people out there who might seem too distant to support your initiative can, in fact, support it by making it a part of the larger environment that connects our disability community.
You might have noted that I didn’t use the term “innovation” to describe this effect of novelty on change. There is nothing wrong with the word (is there a collection of 10 letter profanities?), but it is deeply tied to ideas of control by the innovating organization, and it tends to view the audience (recipients) of the innovation as too passive to be a useful concept in our empowering and prideful change advocacy.
Next time I’m going to try to expand the potential use of novelty by tying it to some very basic concepts of how evolutionary systems do their stuff. After all, our many efforts to change the world around us are directed toward, and make us part of, a very large and dynamic evolutionary system.
Next Post: Variety and Selection