Change agent factors

An agent of change, or agent of change, is someone who intentionally or indirectly causes or accelerates social, cultural or behavioral change. Due to their importance, agents of change are the subject of scientific research. Captology, developed at Stanford’s Persuasive Technology Laboratory, for example, systematically studies how interactive computer products can be used to influence the mind.

Many driving forces motivate the behavior of change agents. An agent who constantly adapts to new practices is often motivated to find better ways of doing things. These driving forces can be external, shaped by circumstances beyond the agent’s control, such as the state of society or the seasons, or internal, by the desire to make changes.

An agent of change can also be technology. Consider the changes that have occurred in the last ten years and much has been driven by the introduction of technological advancements. From the introduction to the World Wide Web, the rapid dominance of Microsoft, the growth and impact of Google and the list goes on. These agents of technological change have influenced all sectors of society worldwide. In the past three years we have witnessed a significant explosion of social computing software which itself is creating explosive change and the spread of social media is the fastest growing technological phenomenon since the introduction of the World Wide Web.

Social media is being discovered and used in many different ways and each new application of the medium creates a new wave of change. The interaction of human and technological change agents is harnessing the social clamor for change and creating non-traditional avenues for change. Social networks allow millions of people to have a voice in each and every problem and a single voice turns into millions at the speed of light. The power of the people is truly exemplified and enabled, while the impacts of these forces have yet to be clearly defined or discovered.

Change comes at different inflection points. Technology-driven science of social media has shown that tipping points of change can happen faster than ever, given the enablement of the tools and reach of social computing. Tipping points for change are reached when a critical mass of people reaches a level of influence that is self-perpetuating and in geometric proportions. This phenomenon has just been discovered by several social media operators whose membership has reached the adoption inflection point, namely LinkedIn and Facebook.

The wave of change is waking up corporations, institutions and governments through social media. Every day, dozens of press releases announce the introduction of new social networks in literally every business segment, topic and geography. Nonprofits are also awakening to the power of social computing to advance their causes, create strong ties with their members, and create a strong voice in society. A good example of a nonprofit that is taking advantage of social media is appropriately called Changemakers.

Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social innovation. It provides solutions and resources needed to help everyone become agents of change and presents compelling stories that explore the fundamental principles of successful social innovation around the world.

Changemakers is building the first global “open source” online community that competes to find the best social solutions and then collaborates to refine, enrich and implement those solutions. Changemakers begins by providing a general intellectual framework for collaborative competitions that bring individual social change initiatives together into a more powerful whole.

To keep the framework dynamic, the online Changemakers community identifies and selects the best solutions and helps refine them. The result is global action frameworks, based on the work of social entrepreneurs, which sow collaborative action and visibility on a global scale, making a big difference, field by field. Changemakers Idea Reviewers are regular comment and analysis contributors ensuring a rich and lively online discussion.

The “open source social solutions (TM)” model aims to challenge the traditional approach to issues such as human trafficking and conflict resolution with a broader and more comprehensive set of stakeholders. As such, each serves as a platform to build an engaged community with professionals and investors that unleashes new waves of innovation around the problems bogged down in conventional approaches. For more information on Changemakers, visit

The list of other initiatives in all segments is too large to share in one article; However, by now you should conclude the main point, change is all around you. As individuals, we have choices to make every day as our lives are affected by constant change. There is an expression, people do not resist change, they resist being changed. As individuals, our human nature likes to have some control over the changes around us. The proliferation of technological change in our lives over the past twenty years has facilitated a curve of human adoption to the influences of change. However, the dynamic that is causing significant disruption is that people are learning to use the medium of social media in order to create our own change that allows us to have stronger voices and influence in our world. This dynamic has just begun, but the tipping point will accelerate changes in the very institutions that have historically controlled the changes that have previously been imposed on us, the human race.

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