Understanding How Our World Works


We often try to solve a problem without understanding it fully. This is like performing surgery on someone’s leg without understanding how their heart works. We don’t need our knee surgeon to talk to us about our heart, but we sure do hope she knows the fundamentals before performing surgery. Understanding the challenges we’re trying to tackle, and understanding better the world around us, is similarly integral to our change-making efforts.

To make change in our society, we need to understand the fundamentals of how decision making happens, in our teams, through our social identities, and in our systems of power. Specialists in a given field often know a lot about their specific sector, but may lack the understanding they need of other sectors. This can cause their change projects to fail. This pathway begins to explore some of the fundamentals of understanding how our world works so that we are better prepared to reshape it.


Understand how the world works so that we can transform it.


Giving thanks: We share these resources in gratitude to all of our teachers and with appreciation for the value they have brought us. The field guide is a living resource that we are consistently adding to. We receive no payment or kickbacks for sharing. Access and use of these resources should be done at one’s own discretion. If you see a resource you like, we encourage you to reach out to the author.

Have a resource to add? We are always looking to expand the resources we can share. If you have a tool/resource/link you would like to share with UWC and its partners, please email us: research@upwithcommunity.org.

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