Since 2015 announcement of the Agenda 2030 for SDGs, an effort has been made by an independent Finnish development consultancy to identiy and formulate whether the program is in line with the wider perspective of concepts of change management in a wider development perspective.
There is a difference between managing change in development and sustainable development. The purpose of this article is to identify differences in change management in two different development processes. Both development processes are about change and its management.
How conventional development differs from the starting point and from the point of view of sustainable development must be well known before the setting of its objectives and their formulation into action. The question is about learning. If people have learned to make a difference between night and day, then why not make a difference between dark and twilight.
Human consciousness development
In the development of human consciousness, the relationship of the individual to the surrounding world has been a more important issue in the early days of reflection than survival of the species and self-knowledge and livelihood with its reference community.
Long-term perception of the environment and the creation of a world order took place through religious and deistic divine concepts in a church-led society. It grew apart as people's own thinking grew. The predictability of science and technology cut off the link between religions and secular power. Religious writing, independent of religions, and the communities' own traditions also began to diversify the world view.
Different perceptions of time
There were two kinds of time concepts in ancient society: cyclic and linear concept of time. The cyclical nature of life was related to the order of nature, and to the economic activities built on it, such as agriculture and hunting / fishing as a form of community livelihood. The concept of time had to be the same with reality.
The cyclic time also served as a platform for the linear concept of time that was born in Greece for three centuries before the beginning of our Common Era. Aristotle presented the idea of time linearity that was also later adopted by christianity reality thinking. It was a great leap in human history. The past, this moment and the future required a shared, shared time concept between different parties.
The individual members of the world communities and the ensuing associations (communities) began to develop differently as a result of their own and community interests. Different rules and norms and hierarchical mechanisms of power use also arose from the diversity of interests. The consciousness of the Earth's limitedness began to emerge only after great discoveries and enlightenment in the 1600s / 1700s.
Simultaneously with the above, there was a development in political thinking. A democracy that has guided development and has been the foundation of the world order for over two millennia. It has been a prerequisite for the creation of the value base and functions needed for current sustainable development.
The emergence of the concept of democracy and its impact on people's lives in ancient Greece is another great leap and cornerstone for building secular power and society and replacing religious / ecclesiastical power structures with secular power through the above-mentioned major discoveries and inventions of human and political thinking of the period of enlightenment. Divine visions and truths were also replaced by rationality and worldly wisdom.
The development philosophy described above was the basis for a great development boom from the 1700s to the 20th century, especially in the development of equality between people and societies, the concept of 'Sustainable Development' in its present meaning, waiting for itself as a development option until 1972, when it was first mentioned in the Rome Club report in the Limits to Growth section.
Integrity as a force for change
Sustainable development and the associated changes are different from other developments in that it means changes in the natural conditions of nature. It is about regulating relationships between people and the surrounding world. In a democracy-based developmental thinking, the starting points and the content of the activity are related to human equality / rights among people as a member of the community.
Human rights, mutual relations and equality as members of the community are also important for sustainable development. They should be seen in the context of sustainable development as a tool for the functioning of the Community and for the Community to remain together. Different rights and their realization in the Community, for example, voting rights or the right to education are worthless in democracy-based thinking, not tools.
Integrity (the continuation of a diverse life on earth) is a fundamental value at the ethical level that is above democracy. In its development, it has a wider meaning than equality between people. Integration-based thinking does not exclude the treatment of equality as part of sustainable development, albeit in a different role. Sustainable development has been a silent companion for too long in "life-long action".
Sharing the change into parts
In many languages, the integration term has many connotations. In this review, it has only one primary meaning. It refers to unification, cohabitation, integrity, and it exists in our consciousness as a separate alternative, such as the concept of democracy, when sustainable development is sought to be distinguished from the concept of democracy and its use in a sustainable development program.
The Agenda 2030 target program is very broad with the 17 goal and 169 sub-targets to make the industry as a whole. Therefore, the objectives and implementation of the program are divided into four clusters. Clusters are: environmental issues, socio-economic sub-entity, management mechanisms and institutions, and the issues needed to implement the program, including business process descriptions, hardware and software standards, methods and processing rules, and other tools to guide the overall process of sustainable development.
The foundation of integrity in practice
In addition to two different development processes (development vs. sustainable development), the world is changing and learning as a result of different types of interaction processes. As a result of these interaction processes, collective consciousness acquired as a legacy of previous generations is changing. Collective consciousness consists of historiography, new knowledge (science / education), dissemination of information (mass media and social media).
There are countries where material and service production are state-owned. In addition, there are countries where these things are privately owned. In a state-controlled community, the public sector regulates material production and distributes the resulting wealth to its own needs. Managing production in one hand and managing environmental obligations easily create conflicts of interest in society. Material production issues are related to managing change in both development platforms: development and sustainable development, which can be very problematic due to their political nature.
The knowledge dimension
The knowledge dimension consists of several processes in society. The two most important are: creating new knowledge / lore, including the structures and functioning of science / education. Alongside the production of new knowledge, structures and functions related to the dissemination and circulation of information have emerged over the past fifty years.
The media are divided into mass media and social media, which differ in terms of responsibility and prevalence of use. The scientific dimension, the production of information and the dissemination / dissemination of information is a tool for sustainable development and is directly and indirectly linked to sustainable development.
The social dimension
Equality is the most important motive and social value of democratic systems. That is why it is a place in democratic reforms that cannot be set outside the Community. It is a learning process that is realized and achieved when it has started, set and achieved its own goals.
While equality is the most important value of democracy and social justice, it does not mean that it could be incorporated into either conventional development or sustainable development. The SDG and TA programs / development aid programs have things that call for planning, implementation and evaluation mechanisms that resemble sustainable development. Sustainable development cooperation partners include countries whose cultural and linguistic conditions provide synergies for progress in sustainable development management on a bilateral basis.
In normal development, the Community as a whole is responsible for the rationality of the objectives it sets, and the suitability of the resources and methods used to achieve them. The structures and means of political action vary greatly. Elections and their results are an example of such a mechanism. Elections and their observation differ from all other programs.
In sustainable development projects, matters are primarily handled by M&E systems based on standardized methods using empirical knowledge / data. Sustainable development projects do not act at the level of opinion, although it could in some cases be a reasonable approach, for example in the identification and formulation of the objectives of sustainable development programs. In planning and evaluating large entities, the role of the partners should be increased.
An octal matrix is a framework that describes and controls larger entities in order for the community to have a unified picture of the surrounding reality. It is a meta-image of multilevel reality, for example in the descriptions of individual countries or geographic areas, that is needed for sustainable development.
The octal matrix can be built using a variety of UN and national statistics and, if necessary, by compiling reports from IFI assistance programs. The octal matrix data must be available before the SDG program begins. At present, there is no such data bank except the databases of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
There is a wealth of country-specific information that is used to collect land analyzes and background information in conventional private sector investment projects, international donor projects, and bilateral projects. Defining a database for sustainable development data needs should be done. Sustainable development partner countries could participate in such G2B and B2B projects.
Guidance and digitalization of knowledge
In the IT sector, it is said that if the process cannot be described, it cannot be computerized or digitized. This rule also applies to the implementation of sustainable development projects. A very broad sustainable development program with 17 objectives and 169 sub-targets has been created. A document and several other documents have been obtained for the whole program and its objectives in the Agenda 2030 program implementation and monitoring teams.
The resulting entity has not been described as a comprehensive business process that is sought to be managed as a whole. The documentation of previous programs (Agenda 21 and MDG) differs from SDG's objectives and standards in order to use existing data in digital format in the Agenda 2030 analysis of the current situation when designing a program to achieve the set goals. The TOSSD (OECD-UN) Co-operation Body works on these issues and publishes relevant material annually.
Responsibility for sustainable development
The World Development Community has published a Global Change Management Program (Agenda 2030 for SDGS). Its description techniques and documentation are like standards for democracy-based change management programs. It should serve as an example of future programs for integrity/integration-based sustainability change management. The World Development Community should try to see the forest from the trees, no matter where the renewal initiative comes from.
© Heikki K. Auvinen, 2019, All Rights Reserved.