Synthesis for SDGs Change Management   (Published: 01.07.2019)

Managing change is more difficult than talking about it or writing different reform programs on the same thing. Making a change requires conceptual control of the affairs and the ability to describe the process to be changed unambiguously. Skilled people and financial resources are also needed to perceive and implement that process. However, writing global programs is not yet a matter of changing things.

Why programs of intergovernmental and international organizations, including Agenda 2030 in 2015, are not change management programs in the deeper sense of the word, although they have enough human skills and have the resources to use it. In international programs, too much attention is paid to the goals rather than the manageability of things and change.


The process of change is a whole that has three parts according to the writing instructions for the poems of Aristotle's poetry: beginning, middle and end. The beginning is before the middle and end after. There are also numerous books on military skills, all with a similar three-part structure. The use of war and force is very often involved in inter-state interaction. Wars and nuclear weapons are not tools for change management.

The use of force with weapons and sanctions is in no way related to change management. Especially the leadership of the great powers and some other countries, where history writing has not undergone “annalistic quality control” are problematic. In France, in the late 19th century, a new way of writing history was born, which later spread to the rest of the world in the 20th century. In it, history writing is proportional to the social context of things.

The current development programs are of the "here and now" type of time. In defining their content, things are without a historical perspective. The reality of donor countries and recipient countries is different when programs lack an annalistic grip and social contexts. The logic of distinguishing between causes and sanctions and prioritizing matters differs between donor countries and recipient countries. The programs and their objectives are seemingly "shared" by both sides, but without a common understanding and basis of reality.


Bilateral programs start with a situation analysis that serves to understand and implement the entire program. The starting point must also include the past and the social reality of the beneficiary community. Considering the past in people's reality causes the cause-and-effect of things to open differently from those of the outside gurus who come from a different reality.

Reality is made up of things at different levels and interdependent with each other. Elemental dependencies of things and phenomena should be described by causal relationships and system analysis in multivariate contexts. There is a causal dependence between the phenomenon A and B if the changes in B are explained by changes in A. These dependencies must be known. The hierarchical structure of a sub-area and its description are not enough as is done in the LFA approach.

In managing change, it is not expedient to start from B's change by setting new goals and operating parameters for B's functions, but the ability and dependency of A to B must be described at the level of information exchange. Complex goal hierarchies are also needed. Describing the functionality of things is more important than describing the hierarchy of things and phenomena in managing change. Needed to incorporate things in Master Plan.

The Master Plan would include a “General Plan” that describes the process to be modified in a way that is unambiguous for all involved before working on the issue. The general scheme would identify the parts of the process and how they go with the different stages. In addition, the master plan would also define what information and how it will be exchanged between different parts within the whole. It also describes how the other information in the entity, and the processing rules, and on which platforms the information is processed in the implementation and follow-up/evaluation matters.


Agenda 2030 defines 17 program objectives and distributes them to 169 sub-objectives. Agenda 2030 is a very comprehensive program, the management of which is problematic because it is an entity that only a few people can manage. Due to their linguistic and cultural ties, the target entity opens up to its participants in very different ways. Both conceptual and semantic differences should be eliminated in both implementation and outcome evaluation processes.

The Octal Matrix is ​​an 8 x 8 imaging technique that reduces the number of variables in the interaction processes, such that the variable logical entity can be managed both vertically as a hierarchical entity and horizontally as regional or sector entities. In addition, in Agenda 2030, four functional clusters are set as priorities: 1) environmental issues; 2) socio-economic development; 3) public administration and institutional development; and 4) management systems and information technology / digital tools.

The Octal Matrix is ​​used to manage conceptual harmonization and standardization of data in change management. In LFA-based thinking, data harmonization and standardization are done during the ex-post digitization process. The concepts and contents of Octal Matrix and system thinking are defined in the process description for the whole transformation process. In system thinking, change management is initially implemented in the context of a generic guideline using a variety of digital technology-related methods and standards. Functional management and digitalization are two different things.


Change management processes differ in different business sectors and cultural environments. Therefore, it is not sensible in all circumstances to apply similar procedures and phases to deal with matters. In the operation sector, the definition and description of teaching content can be well advanced with the traditional hierarchical LFA approach, for example in the context of national and sectoral curricula. The overall task of the teaching system remains the same in different sectors and contexts.

As the complexity of the sector to be defined increases, the situation changes. For example, the definition of vocational and higher education content differs from the traditional curriculum, because the needs in society and business are constantly changing. Training planning requires systems to manage the needs of existing systems and their interaction. Then it is meaningful to replace the hierarchical mode with functional analysis and system thinking.

Environmental management is influenced by the laws of physics and causal thinking compared to the socio-economic sector. Environmental issues are all too often seen as "here and now". The present environmental problems have been born for several centuries ago, when we did not understand the boundaries of the earth and life on this planet. Today, environmental issues are being addressed by the consequences of this centuries-long development - climate change. What are the causes and what are the penalties? Is sustainable development sustainable?


Knowledge transfer and learning

The transfer of knowledge, values ​​and concepts to the new generation in society is done through the education sector and through life-long-learning education. On the day of new learning, the Internet and social media are becoming increasingly important in learning new things and ways of working. This process of change has strongly shaped the structure and institutions of the education sector in different countries. The quality control of the competence and the right to testify is done by the government, even though the knowledge processes themselves have developed very often regardless of the state.

Life-long learning is an important step in transferring knowledge to future generations. It enables the sharing of strategic know-how into parts that can be integrated into different ages for learning, categorized as is currently the case in primary and secondary / tertiary education curricula. UNESCO's expert group conducted such a study in 2013 on how learning content can be perceived in a new way throughout lifelong learning.

Computerization and digitalization

The system thinking, the computer industry, and its service sector, born during and after World War II, have greatly influenced the transformation of society in almost all areas. Western and former Soviet system thinking models differed. The systemic thinking of the Western industrialized countries was based on bottom-up thinking, while Soviet leadership and system thinking was based on a top-down, driven model of social society. The differences in approaches have led to the emergence of two different computer and software industries when the information society was built at the turn of the millennium.

The work of the UNESCO Expert Group in 2013 can be used for information technology and digitalization without taking time and resources on the cognitive skills side of basic education. Such an approach should support and reserve the possibility of acquiring ICT skills and knowledge through individual programs at different stages of life, without any knowledge area dominating too much the entire subject area in the context of curriculum development.

Information systems compatibility

The compatibility of information systems with existing systems has been the most important technical problem of computerization and the development of the information society. Countries can be grouped into three separate groups for IT systems compatibility: (1) Western industrialized countries from the early days of computerization, (2) Former Eastern European socialist countries among existing Transition economies, and (3) Developing countries and transition economies with no IT industry and independent R & D. Compatibility is still a problem in public administration, the corporate sector and new areas of IT platforms.

Business processes and their adverse effects (e.g. environmental problems) develop in different ways in different countries and cultures, depending on the stage of socio-economic development in these countries and communities. The interoperability of information systems in countries and communities at different stages of development should be ensured through the operating models and standards of the 1960s and 1970s. Then there were industrial/professional and state standards that were subject to industry and country-specific extensions. Global development compatibility issues could be part of the development of the Master Plan as an extension of ITU OSI standards.

Evaluation of change results

Whichever approach they take (system thinking or LFA environment), both have a common approach to building an active feedback link. Feedback thinking became a central principle in the system thinking and theories of the Soviet and Eastern European states. As a result of these developments, a new way of thinking about social indicators emerged in those countries, which, compared to the western countries, were more far-reaching indicators of socio-economic development when evaluating the results of ‘party progress'. Harmonization is still needed to measure change management.

The OECD and the UN's Environmental Programs have made significant efforts to identify sector-specific developments and measure change, especially in the assessment of changes in the environment and education sectors. When it comes to global development, this system of indicators measuring the overall change must also be included in the general plan of activities as ex-ante and ex-post action programs with existing LFA-based approaches and in the Agenda 2030 program.

When evaluating the performance of the education sector, it should be noted that the assessment must target and provide feedback to three different actors: society, teachers and other staff and students involved in the process. The last-mentioned party has come to this activity, except for student assessment, in recent years as an equal actor in individualized teaching. The current OECD standard for evaluation is to be emphasized in the future in different ways.

Reliability of knowledge in change

Knowledge has two fundamental dimensions. In the context of learning and new insight, knowledge builds a new kind of synopsis between reality and individual brain function. Secondly, the information obtained and disseminated to others is shared and disseminated with the help of the media, scientific institute, authorities and other members of the community. If knowledge is consistent with reality, it becomes part of an information society that binds people to the community. If the information to be shared does not coincide with reality, it has been seen how the integrity of society is diminished due to its overly fictitious material.

When the socio-economic reality in the human community is distorted by the people's own perceptions and desires, it leads to a conflict between the interests of the individual and society. In such a development, the forces that hold together the society are weakened and people begin to behave in violation of existing norms. It leads to disorder where the common interests unite people into new thinking and action. There is a confrontation between new and existing order. At this stage, power is often used to establish legality and order within the territory. Power can be used and used in cross-country confrontation with outsiders too. The cohesiveness of society is based on reality-based knowledge, not on fiction as a plot of reality.


The emergence of the United States and a new constitutional state on the new continent at the end of the 18th century was an important step in community development. It spread from the United States to Europe in the 19th century and to the socialist countries, and they also disintegrated into new transitional  countries in the Third World. The common interest and consensus were the unifying forces.

The current constitutional states have much more responsibilities and duties than during the post-constitutional breakthrough. The constitutional state must be able to act as the guardian and guardian of the interests of both the individual citizen and the state itself. There are states that do not recognize the rights of individuals and only use force to fulfill their own state purpose. Intergovernmental cooperation should not be the sole actor, leader and financier of international cooperation. There should also be room for private investment, venture capital and crowdfunding.

In global development and change management, we need to create a new kind of community model that takes better account of the needs of both parties. The constitutionality and the model of action based on the rights guaranteed by them at Community level is a functioning system that has already been implemented in international co-operation since 1814-15 of the Vienna Congress. The Viennese Congress, the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 and the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Program 2015 are mutually supportive steps in this global change management chain. It must be continued.

There are several separate steps in problem solving. To be able to solve the problems, they must first be aware of. Awareness-raising only happens through fact-based information exchange and people's trust. When a common operational platform has been achieved through the exchange of information, common goals that unite all parties to the problem can be sought.

© Asumer Oy / Heikki K. Auvinen, 01.07.2019



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