Bold Change Agents

Global Social Transformation


David Gershon and the Empowerment Institute* are known to be very active change agents.  Listed here are highlights from their website.

Global Social Transformation

* Empowerment Institute is the world’s preeminent consulting and training organization specializing in the practice of empowerment. Its empowerment methodology has been applied over the past three decades to achieve measurable and sustainable behavior change at the individual, organizational and community level. A major academic research study described this methodology as “unsurpassed in changing behavior.”

Community Empowerment
A framework, methodology and tools for changing behavior, community engagement and large system transformation.

Societal Empowerment
A comprehensive blueprint for designing transformative social innovations
and large-scale societal change.

Transformative Social Change
To bring about the large scale transformations needed for humankind to evolve and enable us to have a viable planet to inhabit, we need leadership schooled in the competencies of transformative social change. With our planet on the line and with such a propitious opening for positive change available to us, this is not the time for change leaders to be foundering. We all need to be playing at our best. To that end Empowerment Institute has developed a variety of programs to build this capacity from our certification program, to our master class webinar series, to Social Change 2.0 study circles as well as other programs.

Social Change 2.0
So many of the assumptions we have been operating with as a human community have proven faulty that we must literally re-envision them. And with the accelerating unraveling of our planet’s life support system and the deterioration of so many of our social systems, we are being called on to create rapid transformative change. But the current social change tools at our disposal of governmental command and control, financial incentives and citizen protest— Social Change 1.0—were designed for slow-moving, incremental change.

Not only must we reinvent our world, but also the process by which we achieve this reinvention. According to systems theory, when the current solutions prove inadequate for the magnitude of change required, a system goes into stress and begins to breakdown. What is required to help the system evolve is a second order change solution—or solution capable of transforming and reorganizing it at a higher level of performance and social value. Empowerment Institute’s Social Change 2.0 framework and methodology represents such a solution for our social systems.

Reinventing the Planet
Humanity is at a critical juncture in our evolution. Unless we rapidly change our trajectory as a species, our civilization will unravel. In many parts of the world this has already begun. The question is how do we change? It’s not like we have not tried. There are many dedicated and heroic change makers pouring their hearts and souls in trying to change the world, but they struggle to get traction. Yet they keep using the same approaches over and over again. What if the problem was not the world’s unwillingness to change, but the approaches we use to bring about change? What if how we thought about social change and what people were capable of achieving was the problem?

A Bottom-Up Grand Strategy to Reinvent the Planet Building Second Order Change Capacity  Around the Five Strategic Levers: Climate, Development, Peace, Knowledge and Money by David Gershon

Global Action Plan
Empowerment Institute’s nonprofit research arm, Global Action Plan, has received foundation support for its research and development initiatives around behavior change, community empowerment and sustainable development.  This page lists contributors. 

Global Social Transformation

Empowerment Institute Social Change 2.0 initiatives.
Each social innovation is designed to transform a high leverage social or environmental issue and is now scaling up.

Climate: Empower cities and their citizens in high carbon emitting countries with the agency to implement a second order change solution to climate change.

Development: Empower women throughout the developing world with the agency to transform the cycle of poverty and create thriving lives and communities.

Peace: Empower humanity with the agency and second order change tools to create peace on earth by 2030.

Reinventing the Planet: Empower humanity with the agency and a road map, strategies and tools to simultaneously achieve these global sustainable development goals and create our dreams for the world.

Global Social Transformation

A Global Initiative for the Empowerment of Women
“IMAGINE empowers women in challenging life circumstances in developing world countries to envision and create new possibilities for their lives through participating in a four-day training program called the “Empowerment Workshop.” This training program, developed by David Gershon and Gail Straub—pioneers of the field of empowerment and founders and co-directors of Empowerment Institute’s School for Transformative Social Change—has successfully been applied over the past thirty years in over forty countries worldwide.”

Global Social Transformation

Links for these 2 documents are available on their website
Social Change 2.0 Study Circle Discussion Guide

Reinventing Social Change


Video Resource
Social Change 2.0 Intro to Framework – 25 min Video

An introduction to the Social Change 2.0 philosophy and framework.


Audio Resource
In this hour-long audio teleseminar, David Gershon introduces strategies and tools you can use to change behavior, empower communities and transform large systems. Drawing on his book Social Change 2.0, he describes how you can step up in your ability to make a difference in the world. Click here to listen to the audio recording.

Global Social Transformation


Peace on Earth by 2030
In 1986 at the height of the cold war a torch of peace was passed around the world. The First Earth Run, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund directly engaged twenty-five million people and 45 heads-of-state in 62 countries. Over a billion people watched the torch via the media circumnavigate the globe. For 86 days wherever the torch of peace went all wars stopped and the world was united as one. Since then this modern day mythic story embodying humanity’s noblest aspiration for peace on earth has continued to be told all over the world.


7 Actions to Create Peace on Earth
These seven actions represent the best practices that enabled the First Earth Run to unite the world. They are so accessible that every woman, man and child on the planet can participate. And with all the networks so networked, they can rapidly be disseminated to tens of millions people all over the world.

Action 1
A Critical Mass of Dream Keepers
Share the Story With Your Network and Invite Them to Do the Same

Action 2
And a Child Shall Lead the Way
Pass the Torch of Peace to the Next Generation

Action 3
Vive la Difference
Befriend the Other – Work together

Action 4
The Unitive Impulse
Celebrate Our Shared Humanity

Action 5
For the Common Good
Shed Light on Acts of Cooperation

Action 6
Blessed Are the Peace Makers
Support Those Creating Peace on Earth

Action 7
The World Heart
Pray For and Become Peace on Earth

Global Social Transformation

Making Isla Vista the First Carbon Neutral Community by 2025

“A systemic strategy to help Isla Vista become carbon neutral in five years that can be scaled throughout the world …. steps to creating a carbon neutral community by 2025 with University of California, Santa Barbara students and Isla Vista community members.

How will Isla Vista become the first carbon neutral community in just five short years? Cities make up nearly 70 percent of global carbon emissions, and 70 percent of those emissions come from residents’ lifestyle choices.

If you can empower residents to adopt low-carbon lifestyles, you can activate the whole system of bottom up and top down change.”


Global Social Transformation

“David Gershon, co-founder and CEO of Empowerment Institute has been called “the number one expert on social change.” He applies his visionary leadership and social change expertise to designing second order change solutions for cities, countries and the planet that enable the seemingly impossible to become possible. Over the past four decades the initiatives he’s designed have won many awards and achieved much recognition.

In 1986 David organized, at the height of the cold war, the passing of a torch of peace around the world. The First Earth Run, in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund directly engaged twenty-five million people and 45 heads-of-state in 62 countries. Over a billion people watched the torch via the media circumnavigate the globe. For 86 days wherever the torch of peace went all wars stopped and the world was united as one. Since then this modern day mythic story embodying humanity’s noblest aspiration for peace on earth and the oneness of humanity has continued to be told all over the world.

David is author of twelve books, including the award- winning Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World and the best-selling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life as You Want It.

He directs Empowerment Institute’s Center for Reinventing the Planet which empowers social entrepreneurs from around the world to design and implement second order change social innovations. He has lectured at Harvard, MIT,  and Johns Hopkins and served as an advisor to the Clinton White House and the United Nations on empowerment and second order change.

David has dedicated his life to empowering humanity to believe we can create the world of our dreams and designing the strategies and tools to help us make this a reality. He is putting this aspiration and second order knowledge into action through a bold plan to change the world called: “Reinventing the Planet.”

Global Social Transformation