In the last series of posts (Our Entangled Insurgencies), I hope you got a feel for the flow of the large scale Complex Adaptive System in which our advocacy operates.
Most of the social justice community has become aware that using only repeated procedural frameworks to change injustice has deep limits in the Macro-CAS:
- Systems that are our advocacy focus will evolve to meet our challenges when we use the same tactics to change them, over and over. They do this in order to blunt our impact. They will also respond to our efforts politically, both inside the system of focus and in the larger social context.
- This tactical advocacy cycle of give-and-take results in a self-sustaining advocacy/bureaucracy system incapable of transformative change.
- Our use of Operational planning for Advocacy, (for example the Logic Plan framework) prevents us from understanding the impact of trends in the environment and emerging constraints (warm data) that we can’t directly change, but could take into account in our overall strategy if we paid attention to it, reducing the effectiveness and resilience of our successes.
- The more deeply the CAS supports something we want to change, the harder it is to implement a transformation. This is mostly due to our lack of real experience with transformational change. But it also reflects our focus on commitment of resources as somehow proportional to the impact we will have when our strategy is transformational. But you can reduce the size of a hill with 1 million spoons, or you can change the context so rain showers do the work for you. One is brute force advocacy and the other is catalytic transformation.
Over the course of this series of posts, I will work to deepen our understanding of advocacy strategy and transformational work. The first place to start is expanding the usefulness and necessity of creating a real advocacy strategy.
Next Post: What Advocacy Strategy Is and Isn’t