At the LinkedIn Group on International Development a discussion was provoked by Dr. Oladele Making change happen: People will commit to change when their #corevalues and concerns are met by the #change. I posted the following response that I turn into my weblog today.
Thank you Dr. Oladele for kick-starting this most interesting debate. It seems to me that the question raised by Alexandre has been answered just by the virtue of the many responses it triggered. Apparently people (including myself) adapted their browsing behaviour turning it into contributing. Whereas in other occassions they would just click on to other topics. The short and concise character of Dr. Oladele's statement (unlike this one ;) ) lead them to pause, in some cases even read contributions of others and finally chip in a few contrasting, sharpening or deepening lines, hoping that others would read them and take them along in their analysis, exercising their adaptive capacity and hopefully also evaluate them using their own corevalues.
That leads me to the core question. Why did this simple statement trigger so many responses? Change may be threatening all of us in some way. In response to all changes around us, everyone will seek to hold on to at least something that does not change. There you are: #corevalues. They usually do not change over night and help evaluate change.
Todays emphasis on adaptive capacity as referred to by Alexandre in his last contribution may be over-rated as adaptive capacity is not only required for survival and renewal, but may also be used as a means to acquire dominance. If one manages to make people more easily adapt, it will also be easier to influence them. This might be profitable when spreading messages that bring freedom and well-being. However, it may equally be used for spreading messages that are binding and support selfishness and consumarism.
Core values provide the counter intuitive to adaptive capacity. They help to qualify adaptation with regard to its presumed outcome: a positive or negative change. An increase or a decrease in possibilities. An increase in freedom are a decrease in freedom etc. It is vitally important to keep adaptation and maintainance of core values together in order to ensure rigour in society.
I have adapted to the funding environment in the Netherlands where these days more emphasis is placed on entrepreneurship. So I registered a company. That looks like highly developed adaptive capacity. However, putting it slightly different: I found myself without a job and decided to create one. That was not so much adaptation as well as a conscious choice that rather then applying for a position, I wanted to deepen my creative capacity to live out my core values. Is that still considered adaptation? I did not turn in my principles and core values while leaving a staff position. The private sector seems to be opening up for the soft side of business, providing chances to market social enterprises. My profit (apart from my salary) is also expressed in terms of social capital. My core values help me to select what job I want to focus on. They are not always the best earners money-wise, but hopefully still provide for a living. And people within my network that I share these values with help me remembering them.
For more details about my social enterprise see: www.uraide.nl
My name is Reinier van Hoffen, founder of URAIDE.
Click here for a summary.
Also find the text of a lecture Dr. Achterhuis held at the 2012 Bilderberg conference.