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Hope is the consequence of action

Published Date: 16 December 2019

“Hope is more the consequence of action than its cause. As the experience of the spectator favours fatalism, so the experience of the agent produces hope.”
- Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Brazilian philosopher and politician

This quote from Roberto Unger is sitting with me this month. At SIX, we are driven by action, and we often talk about the different ways to make change - should the focus be more on citizen actions, or shifting big institutions and systems? How do we support citizens to effectively influence systems? 

Geoff Mulgan, SIX’s founder and driver of the social innovation movement in that last decade, launched his new book earlier this month - Social Innovation: How societies find the power to change. This question is at the front of my mind at the moment - how do societies find the power to change when it feels like big systems, governments and institutions are against us? How can we connect more people so our hope becomes infectious?

Over recent weeks, I have seen incredible people power. In Hong Kong, more than 70% of the population came out to vote in Council elections. In Finland, whereas of this week, the parliament is dominated by women under 35. And closer to home, many of my friends, peers and colleagues have spent their evenings and weekends campaigning. 

Seeing these actions from everyday people, with incredible energy, gives me hope.