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June 16-18 | 2021

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  /  CityChanger   /  Behaviour Change 101

Behaviour Change 101

Change resides in all of us! But what differs real CityChangers from others?

Some might say individuals are not capable of achieving big change. However, Jeni Cross (Professor of Sociology and Director of Research) and Margaret Heffernan (Entrepreneur & Writer) prove them wrong in our Sofa Session #3 and here is why:

It is easy to argue that big systematic change is impossible to achieve for a person like you and me. Supporting this, a study confirms that when a person from a less economically developed country moves to the US, their carbon footprint automatically increases drastically although leading the same lifestyle as before. So, in fact, there seems not to be so much what this person could do to prevent it.

Yet there are these inspiring characters like Greta Thunberg, who seem to fight solely and change so much. However, as Margaret Heffernan points out it is never only one person. Although Greta gets a lot of media attention, she of course has a big team of helpers, because all the work is simply too much for a single person. But what she did wisely – just as all future CityChangers should do – is influence others. One person who is longing for change can simply never achieve as much as a group of passionate change makers. Therefore, it is important to find followers and recruit others. Jeni Cross is convinced that the first and hardest step is to find one follower, when you have the support of one person more will definitely come. Jeni advices to influence people that are close to you and they again will recruit others which leads to a chain reaction and finally influencing whole organizations and systems.

The story of change is always the story of multiple people from different areas supporting change from lots of different agendas. – Margaret Heffernan

But only by achieving some change the journey isn’t over, for ongoing change and innovation it is crucial to listen to and understand your opponents. Only that allows you to see the problem in the system and move towards improvement, as Margaret indicates. Furthermore, she shares an inspiring story about a friend of hers, who was unhappy at his current job and wanted to quit. But before he did Margaret asked him if he had tried everything. So, he thought about it and came to the conclusion that he hadn’t. Therefore, he went to the chairman of his company and pointed out what’s going wrong and what needs to change in this company. Finally, he ended up getting a promotion instead of quitting and became very happy with his job.

Summing up, never forget to belief that YOU can make a difference! And then find allies and act for change!

Speakers of Sofa Session #3:

Jeni Cross | Margaret Heffernan 

Mathis Hampel (Host)


Watch Margaret Heffernan’s speech at El Desafío here:

Related article:

Politico: Immigration, climate change collide

Want to hear more inspiring stories of change makers? Click here to watch the complete Sofa Session:

For more information about the other Sofa Sessions, click here

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