chapter  8
Agency and Innovation in a Phase of Turbulent Change: Conservation in the Great Bear Rainforest
ByDarcy Riddell, Ola Tjörnbo, Frances Westley
Pages 26

Th e rallying cry for a new generation of activists, from the words famously famous attributed to M. K. Gandhi, proclaims that “we must be the change we wish to see in the world.” Th is is a call both to enact change and to embody a desired future in one’s current way of life. Yet, when impersonal political and economic structures and large-scale cultural forces are implicated in systemic problems such as poverty, climate change, or species loss, what power do individuals truly have to create positive social and organizational change? So-called messy, wicked, or complex problems refer to problems whose very defi nition is contested, and for which solutions are unknown, multiple, and emergent. Organization-or leadership-based theories can be inadequate to explain change in these complex problem domains: those with convoluted overlaps of authority, institutions operating at multiple scales, and a multiplicity of actors with clashing beliefs that frame the problem diff erently and generate competing knowledge claims. Yet individuals are enacting change, and impacting on large-scale problems-with both positive and negative consequences.