A possibly apocryphal anecdote about Albert Einstein: he received a letter from a student who said she dreamed of becoming a mathematician but worried she didn’t know enough and never would. In response, Einstein is rumored to have told her not to worry–he himself was always realizing that ‘the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know’.
The same can be said of our study of change and how we might chart a path toward it. As a field of study starting in the 1990s at the Aspen Institute, it has grown wider in its application and deeper in its complexity. ActKnowledge and the Center for the Theory of Change are proud to have been part of this work from the start–and our work over the past 25+ years has taught us, too, that there is still much we “don’t know”; there is still a world’s worth of change to be charted (ever more urgently and, some might say, ever more existential in nature).
The work of the Center for the Theory of Change (C-ToC) remains vital. Theory of Change is central to our more recent efforts to guarantee a more inclusive and equitable approach within both the philanthropic landscape and the social-change movement itself.
I was honored to become the Executive Director for C-ToC at the end of 2022. My own journey from educator to school founder to program founder has left me both hopeful–because so many people are ready to engage in the effort toward change–and concerned by the forces that seek to delay and obfuscate. Our mission, then, must be to insist on the need for clarity in the name of action toward change.
C-ToC is ready for that engagement. We are going to meet the need for more deep discussion about the role ToC (and our trailblazing online tool – Theory of Change Online (TOCO)) can play–and begin to plot the path toward the society in which the mechanisms that bring change are clearly understood and responsibly put into motion. We’ll be asking for your feedback, your ideas for how we get there, your questions that need answering.
To start: What is one question about Theory of Change that you think should be central to our next webinar?