Live the Story

I learned a few things Becoming an Activist that I relate here in the form of patterns. I elaborate on one or two from each section.


Even modest dysfunctions can compound and reinforce. Therefore: Promote System Change broad enough for persistent improvement.

Civil Engineers Follow Plans<br>A Poor Model for Software

Ad-hoc solutions become tradition which many will defend. Therefore: Explore the History of Prevailing Dogma until you can explain each dysfunction as a temporary solution in some past environment.

Our habit is to address issues one at a time. Therefore: Articulate Whole Solutions as if they address a single problem.

A collection of isolated solutions probably won't work as a system. Therefore: Identify Model Solutions from other fields that have been shown to work over time.


Busy people are not likely to think as deeply about solutions as you. Therefore: Coin Metaphorical Names that suggest the consequence of applying a model solution in your field.

Your solutions will not resonate with those you most wish to influence. Therefore: Recruit Aligned Minds willing to develop solutions with minimal evidence for success.

Even those not opposed to change will not know how to start. Therefore: Spread out to Teach the Methods where ever likely innovators will meet.

Cautious people will remain skeptical until presented with diverse experience reported by influential people. Therefore: Create an Informal Literature written for and by the kinds of people you hope to influence.


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Natural leaders have many causes to which they can apply their energy. Therefore: Invite influentials to Innovator's Workshops to evolve the vision, create sample products and commit continued energies.

Natural leaders are use to being the smartest person in the room. Therefore: Begin sessions with Cooperative Play that reinforce the ability to depend on each other.

Even successful events are soon forgotten when leaders find themselves back in the daily grind. Therefore: Close sessions with Future Skits where attendees admit their collective fantasy and speculate how they might play out.

An idea who's time has come will quickly outgrow the bandwidth of those who launched it. Therefore: Found an Open Platform for sharing the experiences of all with like purpose.

New participants will be challenged with unexpected and counter intuitive advice. Therefore: focus conversation on Personal Reflection that interprets actual experience within the context of the emerging vision.

More is known about dysfunctional ways than the new ways you are promoting. Therefore: Write about concerns with Prompting Statements that describe what you know and make questions apparent by omission rather than direct questions.

No individual yet knows how to explain the future in simple, comprehensible language. Therefore: Encourage a Flurry of Titles to name every aspect of your solution applied in language that works for those doing the application.

The trade press looks for new subjects that are gaining broad awareness. Therefore: Encourage authors to write Small Books that probe and organize your evolving literature.

Waves of new recruits to your movement will look to the folks that recruited them as their leaders. Therefore: Step back with your colleagues as Leaders Emeritis accepting praise graciously and encourage other to push forward just as you probably were without knowing it.