Scott became interested in stories of transformation after he was brutally beaten and left for dead by gang members his freshman year of college. This one transformative event lead him to start nonviolence initiatives with gang members in Los Angeles and human rights projects in the midst of one of the world’s most dangerous war zones in Sri Lanka. It lead him to the Earth Summit in Brazil to pursue international environmental law, and on many extremely worthy projects that promised to have profound impact in people’s lives. After his own transformation, he wanted to make a difference, and he and his colleagues were failing. Nothing was actually changing.
So Scott began doing research to find out why so many efforts by do-gooders like himself fail to make change, whereas true transformation seems to often be catalyzed by accident. He wanted to know if there was a pattern to the successes, and whether we could learn from them to create a theory of social change.
What Scott discovered blew him away. All deep and lasting change, both personal and societal, follows the same pattern. Based on the strength of the data and research, he won an international competition for “the best ideas to change the world” from among more than a thousand entries. He started an institute based on this experience called Transformative Action.
Since then, Scott has been all over the world teaching the principles of Transformative Action. They have been adopted by many of the leading social innovation and entrepreneurship organizations around the world, including Ashoka, StartingBloc, and the Dell Social Innovation Challenge. The class Scott taught at Boulder lead to the creation of the Unreasonable Institute. Transformative Action has been praised by such Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, and the late Mother Teresa.
Recorded on: Wednesday, 03/13 at 2pm PST (5pm EST)
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Scott Sherman – Founder of Transformative Action Institute
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Scott Sherman is a writer and researcher on the most effective methods of social change. He has worked on nonviolence and social justice projects from the war-torn island of Sri Lanka to the inner city ghettoes of America. He is an expert on the most effective ways that citizens succeed in creating social progress and innovation. Sherman’s work on nonviolent social change projects has been praised by such Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as the Dalai Lama and the late Mother Teresa and eventually leading him to found the Transformative Action Institute. He is also a nationally recognized speaker on environmental regeneration. He has won the outstanding teaching award from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2004, he was nominated for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ Faculty of the Year award for the entire U.S. Sherman earned his undergraduate and law degrees from U.C. Berkeley, as well as his Ph.D. in environmental studies from the University of Michigan. Scott has also worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law Foundation. He is currently an adjunct faculty member in UCLA’s School of Public Affairs.