Finding Joe, and the changemakers’ journey

On Monday I saw the documentary “Finding Joe” at the Wake Up Sydney event. The film explores the Hero’s Journey and the wisdom of Joseph Campbell. The thing I loved the most about this film is that it takes the story well beyond film and myth, to look at its application to personal psychology.

The thing that I have been contemplating on since though is ‘changemaking’ as an archetypal journey. In the classic “hero’s journey”, the stories and myths are about a hero who experiences ‘separation’ from their community or tribe, to depart and have a series of experiences that add up to the gaining of wisdom. The hero then returns to the community to share the wisdom gained.

For the changemaker it seems to be a different kind of journey. Firstly, the separation is quite different. Often in my observation, the changemaker stays embedded within the community they are seeking to serve. The separation is less a physical one, and more of an inner separation. Read more

65 reasons I am writing this blog

1. The learn about ethics
2. To understand the nature of change
3. To construct a more holistic theory of change
4. To improve as a writer
5. To reflect upon past ethical dilemmas I have faced and wonder if I would approach them differently
6. To be able to support social entrepreneurs to think differently about their change initiatives
7. To be able to teach about ethics
8. To discover how doing good has been approached historically
9. To understand why changemaking has become such a force and powerful meme in present times
10. To bring consciousness to the changemaking world
11. To help the do-gooding sector or system to rethink how it does things
12. To support specific organizations to rethink their mission and or activities
13. To work with philanthropy to consider how ethical thinking can be used to enhance their work to improve the process of grant making
14. To develop discipline as a writer Read more

Beyond good intentions

I thought I would begin by sharing where all of this interest in ethics comes from. I am not an ethicist, nor have I ever studies ethics formally. Yet in the process of my work in the fields of social entrepreneurship, changemaking and ‘doing good’, I have faced numerous ethical dilemmas.

In my work I have been frequently pitched ideas for new projects, businesses and organisations. Many of these have been creative, exciting and born out of immense passion. The social entrepreneurs have often done loads of thinking about the community they seek to serve, the market, the product, pricing and business model, and at times the long-term sustainability of the venture.

Yet often the ethical dimensions were left largely unexplored. This is not because the people who are behind these ideas are bad people. On the contrary, I have only met wonderful, brilliant and very well-intentioned people in my work. So many of the people who are behind social change work have direct personal experience of or connection to the problem they are seeking to solve. Their drive to create change is therefore highly personal, and very well intended.

Despite all of this, the initiatives have ended up in places that the founder or entrepreneur did not intend. Many of these outcomes have been positive, but also naturally there are other consequences which are not pleasing to the founder or the people they are seeking to serve.

Why is this so?

How is it that change actually works?

How do we explore the ethical dimensions of our work so that we can live and work in the world in a way that brings good to the lives of others?

These are some of the questions that I am seeking to explore through this blog. I would love to hear from you about your ideas, questions, dilemmas and stories. Through this blog I am seeking to create a conversation around the ethics of changemaking.