Societal Muse: Response, Responsibility, Resilience

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“A story cannot simply be a series of remarkable events. You must start out as one version of yourself and end as something new.” says best-selling author Matthew Dicks. 

Last year, we began looking for stories. Stories, we realised, inspire us to be bold, to build community, to hold on to our dreams. Especially in the development sector where, when we think of impact, we think of numbers – people reached, goods and services delivered or programmes implemented. We wanted to know the behind-the-scenes of working towards these goals. What does change leadership look like – what are its joys and challenges? And, most importantly, what transformed their journey? 

We asked change leaders across the globe to tell their stories of exponential change with Societal Thinking. Digging deeper, we found a common thread that tied these change leaders together – the quest to create impact at scale. Their restlessness, resilience and vision were unmistakable. From taking the riskier path to even changing paths completely; from imagining collective action to reimagining the world itself – these change leaders took us through the twists and turns of their journeys. 

This is what inspired the first edition of Societal Muse – Response, Responsibility, Resilience

Welcome to Societal Muse

At a time when social problems need exponential solutions, Societal Muse gives us a glimpse into the experiences and efforts of change leaders who are using Societal Thinking to create change that inspires more change. Featuring as Special Insights, Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson of Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies and Don Gips, CEO of Skoll Foundation lend us perspective on how philanthropy can support big ideas and on the importance of system orchestrators.

Societal Muse puts forth stories of quests, dilemmas and turning points. The Muse is an invitation to pause, reflect and ask questions. It also symbolises inspiration. Sanjay, our sutradhar (string-holder), catches glimpses of three Muses across these stories: the Muse of Possibility, the Muse of Curiosity and the Muse of Agency. 

Every story brings to life a small simple idea. Small simple ideas are like children. They ask ‘what if’ and ‘why not’, and are curious and eager to take risks. In these stories, we witness these ideas come alive, grow and turn into action. These are ideas that overturn current ways of solving and drum up the potential of creating a better world for all. This transformation is visible in the Societal Thinking arch. All stories open up an opportunity to play. How does the picture look without the arch? How does it change with the arch? 

We hope the stories in Societal Muse evoke wonder and excitement. Do read and let us know which stories you found the most interesting, most thoughtful and most inspiring. Please share with your friends, teams and networks, and spread ideas farther!

Read stories of exponential change here.

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