Humanity is at a critical juncture in our evolution. Unless we rapidly change our trajectory as a species, our civilization will unravel. In many parts of the world this has already begun. The question is how do we change? It’s not like we have not tried. There are many dedicated and heroic change makers pouring their hearts and souls in trying to change the world, but they struggle to get traction. Yet they keep using the same approaches over and over again. What if the problem was not the world’s unwillingness to change, but the approaches we use to bring about change? What if how we thought about social change and what people were capable of achieving was the problem? Learn more.
To bring about the large scale transformations needed for humankind to evolve and enable us to have a viable planet to inhabit, we need leadership schooled in the competencies of transformative social change. With our planet on the line and with such a propitious opening for positive change available to us, this is not the time for change leaders to be foundering. We all need to be playing at our best. To that end Empowerment Institute has developed a variety of programs to build this capacity from our certification program, to our master class webinar series, to Social Change 2.0 study circles as well as other programs.
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“David Gershon, a daring social architect, is what an engineer is to a bridge builder. In Social Change 2.0, David puts forth with clarity, brilliance, innovation, and passion a blueprint for sustainable societal transformation. It is a practical, inspirational, and ethical guide to initiate, maintain, and/or reignite the soul of any social movement.This book is an outstanding addition to the world.” – Brian K. Gibbs, Ph.D., Associate Dean for Diversity and Cultural Competence, Johns HopkinsSchool of Medicine
“Social Change 2.0 exhilarates. David Gershon has not just laid out a compelling and coherent blueprint for social change, but the vividly written stories he shares make us realize that what we thought was impossible can actually be achieved. Having been a political leader in Portland for twenty years, where I worked closely with David, I saw firsthand the power of his work to change the lives of thousands of people. He may well be the number one expert on social change in our country.”– Mike Lindberg, former Commissioner of Public Utilities and city council member, City of Portland, Oregon
“As humanity faces one of the greatest transitions on which it has ever embarked, David’s book brings the wisdom, inspiration, and tools to enable every one of us to become effective agents of change. Social Change 2.0 is a great book!”– Sarah Severn, Director of Horizons and Mobilization, Nike, Inc.
“If the word ‘hope’ has become the zeitgeist, then David Gershon’s latest book is one of our bright, shining lights. It gives people a clear bridge between a positive, just, and sustainable vision for our world and the tools by which we may bring it about.”– Julian Agyeman Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, Tufts University
“Take a deep dive into the future with David Gershon—but, public health warning, you’re likely to emerge transformed. Social Change 2.0 is for those (including the world’s growing number of social and environmental entrepreneurs) intent on rewriting the current rules on our planet in favor of win-win-win outcomes for all.”– John Elkington, co-author of "The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World," and Co-Founder, SustainAbility
“David is a brilliant social architect who is able to see key patterns and principles between levels of change—from the individual, to the household, to the neighborhood, to the community, to cities, to states and nations, and to the entire planet. His knowledge about the process of social innovation and diffusion and his discoveries over decades of experimentation and research in large system change efforts merit serious consideration by all of us who seek a more hopeful future for our human community. His work illuminates our common yearning for connection with others, and provides the practical tools needed to achieve it at every level necessary to invent our world anew. I loved the way this book stimulated my thinking and spirit.”– Juanita Brown, Co-Founder,The World Café
“David Gershon, an unusually talented and effective organizer, has spent most of his adult life teaching people how to take control of their destinies. The world has changed dramatically during those years, and David has been astute and nimble enough to change with it. His attitudes and techniques are different today from when I first met him a quarter-century ago, though his values remain intact. Social Change 2.0 is an insightful summary of what David has learned during a career of helping to build a better world. Anyone who wants to effect change—whether to promote a global clean-tech revolution, or to organize a preschool program in their neighborhood—will find valuable truths here.”– Denis Hayes, CEO, Bullitt Foundation, and Co-Founder, Earth Day
“I met David twenty years ago when he was the inspiration behind the Global Action Plan sustainable lifestyle movement. With Social Change 2.0 he demonstrates that he has lost none of his brilliance in the intervening years. I predict that this book will become the defining resource for those wishing to create sustainable, low carbon communities, and social change in general. It is a must-read for helping us traverse the challenging times ahead.”– Lawrence C. Bloom, Chairman, World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Urban Management
“Governments have limitations in leading complex social change, and increasingly progressive leaders are recognizing that such challenges can only be effectively addressed through the innovation and passion of grassroots people power. In Social Change 2.0, David Gershon offers us a way to draw on this power to make a difference in the saving of our planet. In doing so he argues for nothing less than a reinvention of the way we think, value, and do things. It’s a big ask and it’s not going to happen overnight—but Gershon offers us a compelling blueprint and a doer’s toolbox of social marketing strategies and empowerment tools, which, if used by enough communities, might just get us there. Simply, he helps make our global future something we can act on.”– John Cole PH.D, Professor and Director, Centre for Sustainable Business and Development, the University of Southern Queensland, Australia, and formerly Chief Officer, Office of Clean Energy, Queensland Government
“Social Change 2.0 is a visionary and pragmatic book that strikes at the essence of what is needed right now to help our social systems, which are at long last opening to transformative change, achieve it. It offers those of us on the front lines of that change—in my case of America’s health care system—the invaluable resource of a tested roadmap and toolkit for social transformation. David’s book should be read by all those ready to seize this extraordinary time for change in society.”– Kenneth J. Abrams, M.D., Senior Vice President, Clinical Operations, North Shore-LIJ Health System
“For those of us in the community-capacity-building sector, David Gershon is not only a dear and trusted resource, but also a living reminder that the work to which we have dedicated our lives can have important tangible outcomes. Building capacity among community members is a complex and intense process that often progresses at a glacial pace. Social Change 2.0 enables community organizers to take this work to the level of craft. Reading this book re-energizes our conviction not only that this work is important, but that it really is possible to help communities transition to a new paradigm. Thank you, David, for your life's work!”– Daniel Homsey, Director of Strategic Initiatives and the Neighborhood Empowerment Network, City of San Francisco
“In Social Change 2.0 David Gershon presents an inspiring vision and a realistic roadmap for how we can reinvent our world through empowering grassroots leaders. The proven strategies, practices, and tools Gershon provides are powerful and will deliver results. I wish I’d had access to them when I was mayor.”– Graham Richard, mayor (2000-2007), Fort Wayne, Indiana, and author of Performance is the Best Politics: How to Create High Performance Government
“This book offers an inspiring evolutionary blueprint for transforming our social systems, and provides some of the most effective organizing principles, empowerment processes, and movement strategies that are emerging in our time. For our rising generation of Millennial activists, student organizers, and young social entrepreneurs, Social Change 2.0 will unquestionably play a significant role in bringing forth the next great wave of social change.”– Joshua Gorman, founder of Generation Waking Up
“Social Change 2.0 is the call to a new generation of leadership, a generation that feels instinctively what David teaches explicitly: that the progress of our society requires us to rebuild our communities house by house and neighborhood by neighborhood. And this book shows us how! If enough change agents apply the highly effective strategies and tools in this book, it will be a game changer for our world.”– Rob Garrity, Executive Director, Massachusetts Climate Action Network
“This book is a voyage of discovery and learning. Not only does it describe the journey of one man’s life and his commitment to broad-scale systems change, it captures his and others’ learnings about what it takes to create the generative changes so needed in our communities, institutions, and world at this unique moment in time. David’s writing provides a wonderful invitation to reflect on our values and aspirations for the differences we want to make. He then proceeds to provide insights, ideas, and a tested framework for action, for those who aspire to truly reinvent the world.”– Charles Homes, Learning Strategies Group, Simon Fraser University
“We all know we need to change our social systems, but few of us realize that the means for this change lies untapped in us all. David's genius lies in knowing how to access the innate resources each one of us holds, and his book is a guide to awakening these possibilities and helping us shift our society to be truly sustainable for the next seven plus generations.”– Gregor Barnum, Director of Corporate Consciousness, Seventh Generation
“Social Change 2.0 shows us how to release the human intangibles of hope, aspiration, and vision, and combine them with the processes needed to achieve sustainable behavior change at the personal, organizational, community, and social system levels. This book is a major contribution to all who wish to bring about change in our world.”– Kathy Castro, Director, University of Rhode Island Sea Grant Program
“Gershon writes from the front lines of social change with practical information flowing off the pages. Like a social change superhero, he demonstrates on every page the power of living with a no-limitations philosophy, showing us how we, too, can be the architects of a better world. This book will influence every project I take up in my life. I now know there is a pattern language for making social change happen.”– Craig Hamilton, New Dimensions radio host, former editor of "EnlightenNext magazine," and founder of IntegralEnlightenment.com
“David Gershon is one of the most accomplished social innovators alive today. This timely book offers the rare gift of proven and transferable solutions that can be applied to a wide range of problems confronting humanity. I have seen and experienced firsthand the effectiveness of this social change model. If you wish to change the world, I cannot recommend this book too highly!”
– Michael Dowd, author of "Thank God for Evolution: How the Marriage of Science and Religion Will Transform Your Life and Our World"
"I have no doubt that when earnestly applied, the lessons learned from David's inspiring book, Social Change 2.0, will prove at least as effective in today's complex and interdependent world as Saul Alinsky's social change version 1.0--Rules for Radicals--did half a century ago in much different circumstances. Social Change 2.0, because it carries us beyond today's gridlock and dominance by special interests toward a co-creative new era of operationalized hope could justifiably be re-titled Democracy 2.0.”
– Gordon Dveirin, Ed.D, co-author of "Saying Yes to Change"
In 1986 at the height of the cold war a torch of peace was passed around the world. The First Earth Run, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund directly engaged twenty-five million people and 45 heads-of-state in 62 countries. Over a billion people watched the torch via the media circumnavigate the globe. For 86 days wherever the torch of peace went all wars stopped and the world was united as one. Since then this modern day mythic story embodying humanity’s noblest aspiration for peace on earth has continued to be told all over the world. To learn more click here.