What Enables Change – Everywhere, Always: Principles (Values)

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  • Gandhi-05
The more efficient a force, the more silent, the more subtle it is. Love is the subtlest force in the worldGandhi

Resources are one way people become a community. People gather around a resource base like animals around a water hole, “a group that shares something in common.” But the second aspect of community in the SEED-SCALE definition is “potential for acting together.” What creates such potential in the SEED-SCALE definition are principles or values.

Principles/values are rules of interpersonal behavior; they are what determine how people act. Just as a shared resource can create community, so do shared principles. What a community values defines how the community functions. (Gandhi notes above that love is such a value, a bonding factor people-to-people, subtle and so powerful people give their lives for this value.)

SEED-SCALE, from its global study of experience across two centuries across cultural differences, identified four principles that seem always present when seeds of positive change go to scale:

  • Successes start the growth
  • Teams grow the change – which is bottom-up, but uses the top-down enabling actors of policies, finances, and values
  • Staying on course by deciding from locally-specific evidence
  • Resulting in continually improving behaviors


Grow from Success <———> Do Not Try to Fix Failures or Satisfy Needs

Three-Way Partnerships <———> Don’t Direct from One (or even two) Directions

Decide from Evidence <———> Power, Money, Opinions, Dogma do Not Give Reliable Answers

Behavior Change is the Goal <———> Most Traditional Prescribed Outputs can be Faked

These principles center on the objective of a rising quality of life. People do not want to give up aspects of the good life they already have—they want more. They grow from successes, which tells where to start. The second outlines the team. The third guides the journey. And the fourth points to what must be done, indeed what everyone is capable of doing.