Maintaining Innovative Potential Over Time


  • Bruce Evan Goldstein


systems change, social innovation, social-ecological problems, rapid feedback, leadership


How can you maintain your community’s social innovative potential over the long term to devise new approaches to intractable social-ecological problems, adapt to changing conditions, and scale innovations to catalyze systems change? Leadership practices that foster capacity to generate fundamental social innovation were identified by highly experienced designers and facilitators of learning networks during a dialogue series on how to maintain lively, generative innovation communities held from 2018 to 2020. In their own words, I offer their advice on how to choose an appropriate suite of innovations through co-work that both probes the system for opportunities for change and pursues harder-to-achieve leverage points for change by building on short-term innovation. I also offer their insights into how to engage your community member’s innovative potential over time and how to generate useful rapid feedback to stay aligned with your goals using measures that enhance your community’s capacity to self-assess. This can both hold the organization accountable and build capacity for self-governance. In my commentary, I suggest how this practical wisdom concretely applies ideas about systems change to the challenges of organizational leadership.

Author Biography

Bruce Evan Goldstein

Bruce is an Associate Professor in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder. He develops partnerships with learning networks in order to understand how communities combine forces to adapt to social and ecological challenges and foster transformational change. Bruce leads the Transformations Community of Practice and the Netweaver’s Network, as well as the Brugo Lab research group.




How to Cite

Goldstein, B. E. (2021). Maintaining Innovative Potential Over Time . Social Innovations Journal, 5. Retrieved from



Social Innovation and Entreprenership