Language is powerful. The meaning we associate with words shapes our perception of the world and our role in it. As taking action to address large-scale, complex challenges to improve the lives of those who are adversely affected becomes more widespread (and in some cases viewed as a profession), a number of terms have emerged to describe these actors, such as social entrepreneurs, social innovators, and changemakers. This continuum encompasses anyone who performs a random act of kindness to an entrepreneur who places more value in the widespread adoption of an innovative solution to a social problem than making a profit.
One of the most eloquent definitions of a changemaker, and one that we ascribe to, was written by Raquel Arteaga:
“A changemaker is anyone who follows through with making a difference in society, no matter how small that difference may be. Transforming humanity on the global level is often the doing of a changemaker, but it all starts with small changes made by just one individual.”
Change, even in the best of circumstances, is often difficult. Addressing challenges that impact our society, such as placing schools at the center of community or promoting healthy fitness behaviors, requires an unwavering commitment in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles where progress is often incremental and difficult to measure. Those who are unwilling to accept an unjust status quo and choose to dedicate their lives to building a movement to promote the widespread adoption of bold solutions to social and environmental challenges are deserving of our support.
For change to be sustained support needs to come in a variety of forms from the people who are directly impacted by it, the organization or movement driving change, and an ecosystem that includes funding and other resources, academia and research, favorable government regulations, and vendors that understand the special needs of changemakers. It is for all of these reasons that we are in the business of facilitating social change.
As a member of this supportive ecosystem, Shifting Patterns is dedicated to building movements and networks that advance social progress. This involves helping changemaker leaders get clear and specific about the people they serve, articulate a unifying purpose, connect and engage participants, and incentivize collaborative action. We believe that the best way to support changemakers is to incorporate the same values into our work. This includes promoting self-reliance through skills building and applying systems thinking that takes into account how changes in one area can impact the entire organization or movement.
Let’s work together to create a future that is fundamentally distinct from the past! Contact us to schedule a free consultation.