Understanding the Future of Change Agency in Sustainability Through Cellular Automata Scenarios: The Role of Timing †
One of the main interdisciplinary challenges today is to understand and change the dominant social perceptions and values that support and perpetuate unsustainable practices. Social computational simulations have been conceived in recent years to understand emergent results from complex systems. These dynamic social models are of interest to sustainability researchers because they provide a means to implement hypotheses and explore scenarios that could help extend our understanding of the future role of change agency in society. Change agents are individuals who directly or indirectly enable sustainable behaviors or inhibit practices that damage the environment and large social groups. Evidence-based strategies, guidelines and methods are necessary in order to manage creative change agency more effectively. This paper presents work with computational simulations, known as cellular automata, in order to explore the role of timing in triggering social change through uncoordinated, autonomous individual action. The paper identifies a number of issues related to creative change agency and proposes associated guidelines for practitioners. As a means of early validation, these findings are portrayed against empirical studies in the literature.
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