Lessons For Transformations Organizations from the Pathways Network: A Transformations Community Dialogue


  • Michelle Benedum University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Bruce Evan Goldstein University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Adrian Ely University of Sussex
  • Marina Apgar Institute of Development Studies
  • Laura Pereira University of the Witwatersrand
  • David Manuel-Navarrete Arizona State University


Transformation organization, Pathways Network, transformation, Transformation Community


Addressing the global challenges highlighted by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals will require a transformation of systems that created the problems in the first place. Purposefully transforming our societies is difficult, complex, and messy. Innovative change strategies often fail, and there are no general solutions. Even when we have developed promising possibilities, they may falter when we try to scale them upward and outward. The Transformations Community, a global community of action researchers and reflective practitioners, organized a dialogue session on developing transformations support structures which intertwine action and learning, such as Transformation Labs, Co-Labs, Bright Spots, and Learning Networks. In this paper, we present key insights from a dialogue session with some individuals who spent years developing and leading the ‘Pathways’ Transformative Knowledge Network (TKN), an international group working on sustainability challenges in various contexts. 

Author Biographies

Michelle Benedum, University of Colorado, Boulder

Michelle E. Benedum is a PhD Candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Political Science. She is affiliated with the Center for the Governance of Natural Resources at the Institute of Behavioral Science and Transformations Community. Her research primarily focuses on community-based natural resource governance, particularly throughout the Pacific.

Bruce Evan Goldstein, University of Colorado, Boulder

Bruce Evan Goldstein is an Associate Professor in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder. He develops partnerships with learning networks and other transformations initiatives in order to understand how professionals and communities combine forces to adapt to social and ecological challenges and foster transformational change. Bruce leads the Transformations Community of Practice.

Adrian Ely, University of Sussex

Adrian Ely is a Reader in Technology & Sustainability and Co-Director of Training at Sussex. He was formerly the Deputy Director & Head of Impact and Engagement.

Marina Apgar, Institute of Development Studies

Marina Apgar is a research fellow at the Institute of Development Studies. She is a human ecologist with 20 years of experience in international development.

Laura Pereira, University of the Witwatersrand

Laura Pereira is an Associate Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand. Laura is a senior researcher working on the Programme on Climate Smart Livestock in East Africa (PCSL) at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development at Utrecht University and affiliated to the Stockholm Resilience Center.

David Manuel-Navarrete, Arizona State University

David Manuel-Navarrete is associate professor in sustainability at Arizona State University. He studies subjective dynamics in coupled social-ecological and technological systems, and inner sustainability transformations. His most recent research explores adaptation, resilience, and transformation of water infrastructures in Mexico City, and the promotion of indigenous biocultures and knowledge co-production to advance sustainability in the Amazon.




How to Cite

Benedum, M., Goldstein, B. E., Ely, A., Apgar, M., Pereira, L., & Manuel-Navarrete, D. (2022). Lessons For Transformations Organizations from the Pathways Network: A Transformations Community Dialogue . Social Innovations Journal, 15(5). Retrieved from https://socialinnovationsjournal.com/index.php/sij/article/view/4974



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