Preprint Concept Paper Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Science-Driven Societal Transformation, Part II: Motivation and Strategy

Version 1 : Received: 26 August 2020 / Approved: 27 August 2020 / Online: 27 August 2020 (07:48:57 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Boik, J.C. Science-Driven Societal Transformation, Part II: Motivation and Strategy. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8047. Boik, J.C. Science-Driven Societal Transformation, Part II: Motivation and Strategy. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8047.


Climate change, biodiversity loss, and other social and environmental problems pose grave risks. Progress so far has been incremental and insufficient, and as a result scientists, global policy experts, and the general public increasingly conclude that bold change is required across all sectors of society. At least two kinds of bold change are conceivable: reform of existing societal systems (e.g., financial, economic, legal, and governance systems), including their institutions, policies, rules, and priorities; and transformation, understood as the de novo development of and migration to new, improved systems. This paper is the second in a series of three that together propose a novel science-driven research and development program aimed at societal transformation. Moreover, the series advances a conceptual framework and formal mechanics by which societal transformation might be approached. Two of the underlying hypotheses are that new societal systems can be developed in a science-driven process to be fit for purpose, and system fitness can be compared across designs. Societies are viewed as superorganisms, and systems are viewed as a societal cognitive architecture. The first paper in the series provides definitions, aims, hypotheses, and a worldview. This paper discusses motivations, the role of science in societal transformation, a theory of change, and fitness metrics. The proposed R&D program and theory of change are sound, viable, and affordable. The local-global-viral strategy invites the global science community to play a unique co-leadership role with local communities in the development, testing, and monitoring of new societal systems. Systems are implemented via a novel civic club model, where participation is voluntary. Clubs grow and replicate based on merit and aided by club networks, whose systems are also viewed as societal cognitive architectures. Benefits of the program and strategy are discussed.


societal transformation; systems change; sustainability; societal cognition; climate change; biodiversity loss; active inference; cooperation; SAILS


Social Sciences, Sociology

Comments (0)

We encourage comments and feedback from a broad range of readers. See criteria for comments and our Diversity statement.

Leave a public comment
Send a private comment to the author(s)
* All users must log in before leaving a comment
Views 0
Downloads 0
Comments 0
Metrics 0

Notify me about updates to this article or when a peer-reviewed version is published.
We use cookies on our website to ensure you get the best experience.
Read more about our cookies here.