Culture Design Labs

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Joe Brewer:

"Imagine when every community that seeks to guide its own development is able to set up field sites for cultural evolution research. Bringing together researchers with change practitioners — orchestrated and funded by philanthropic institutions and government agencies that provide financial support for applied research and social programs — these field sites will gather data on the cultural patterns driving the evolutionary change process. This knowledge will be essential for practitioners as they guide the change process in their communities." (


Joe Brewer:

"A few concepts may help you visualize what the Culture Design Labs can do:

Cultural “traits” that undergo selection. Every social niche has environmental factors that select for the spread of some ideas and practices, while creating barriers or resistance for others. Learning to analyze these traits will enable communities to become wise managers of their own evolutionary change process.

System “logics” seen by pattern analysis. Create an economy around the patterns of growth at all costs and you’ll see it begin to behave like a cancer that threatens its host. Every story has structure. So too with cultural systems. It is simply a matter of learning how to read them. Forget theories of change, create scientific models instead! Few change practitioners treat social change with methodological rigor. They don’t study past behaviors to develop theoretical models about future change. Nor do they formulate questions and gather data to test their understandings. Great strides can be made by simply behaving like scientists." (

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