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Step 6 - Assessing deep system change

According to Robert Chambers, “development is good change”. In the context of the roadmap process, good change is that which promotes and sustains inclusion, productivity and efficiency of an energy system to impact large numbers of marginalised market actors and gender equality.

Experience has shown that change manifests itself at different levels of depth within an energy system but the deeper the level, the harder it gets to detect this change. One practical way in which facilitators can try and detect change at the deepest levels is assessing whether it is reactive or proactive, as follows:

  • Reactive: when market actors do things or change things motivated by market demand. For example, if the demand for stoves goes up, the stove manufacturers invest more to produce more stoves.
  • Proactive: when actors do things or change things motivated by new knowledge, increased forecasting-abilities or new mind-sets. For example, a stove manufacturer starts designing new stoves that are more efficient and cleaner, or starting to investigate other fuel stove options, themselves, because they feel their stoves are ok, but are still polluting and inefficient.

The two types of change are synergic and reinforce each other, as if a market actor is doing well they can afford to invest their time and resources in designing new products and diversifying.

However, these types of change are different in essence and facilitators need to be aware of them to understand the depth of change within the selected energy system, with market actors gradually behaving in more proactive, rather than reactive, ways.

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