HKS Library Virtual Book Tour "Agents of Change"

Interview with Author: Jorrit de Jong

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Jorrit de Jong
HKS Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy
Academic Director for the Innovations in Government Program,
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation


Publisher's Book Description

While governments around the world struggle to maintain service levels amid fiscal crises, social innovators are improving social outcomes for citizens by changing the system from within. In Agents of Change, three cutting-edge thinkers and entrepreneurs present case studies of social innovation that have led to significant social change. Drawing on original empirical research in the United States, Canada, Japan, Germany, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they examine how ordinary people accomplished extraordinary results.

Sanderijn Cels, Jorrit de Jong, and Frans Nauta offer lively illustrations and insightful interpretations of how innovators, social entrepreneurs, and change agents are dealing with powerful opponents, the burdens of bureaucracy, and the challenge of securing resources and support. With practitioners, scholars, and students of public policy and management in mind, the authors dissect the strategies and tactics that social innovators employ to navigate the risky waters of their institutional environments.

Book Quote

“To be successful, social innovators need to be not only passionate, smart, and agile but also reflective and sensible—capable of adapting to their bureaucratic environment even as they seek to reshape it. They must have the proper attitude and sufficient courage to change the status quo and the skills and determination to do so in a constructive manner. They have to anticipate the resistance that changes may provoke and adequately adapt to anything that might compromise the plan. To successfully maneuver through the institutional obstacles, innovators need to combine the deep strategies of chess masters with the quick tactics of acrobats. This book asks the question, how do social innovators actually do it?"


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Agents of Change: Strategy and Tactics for Social Innovation

Cover of the book, "Agents of Change: Strategy and Tactics for Social Innovation"

Brookings Institution Press


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