Transformation Literacy
The day-to-day management approach of governments, development agencies, corporations and civil society activists
Collaboration is the pathway to transformation literacy

It is time to bring human beings back to where they belong: into the center of attention as transformation agents towards a thriving future in a sustainable and interdependent world. Collaboration literacy is a pathway to transformation literacy – the skill to steward transformative change collectively across the boundaries of institutions, nations, sectors and cultures. A skill that – given the current distance to the far ahead goal of a world that works for 100% of humanity and the planet – is not a nice to have option, but a must.

The urgency for humankind’s ability to consciously change behavior so as to stay within the ‘safe operating space’ of the planetary boundaries suggests that designing and implementing transformative change is a skill requiring widespread distribution. It needs to become the day-to-day management approach of governments, development agencies, corporations and civil society activists.

Transformation Literacy Conference week 2023 - registration

Register now for CLI's Transformation Literacy Conference week 2023: Governance and Democracy
24, 26, 28 April 2023
Always 2 - 4 pm CET

Register now

Stewarding sustainability transformations is a collective task. It requires a mindshift towards global and local caring: a new approach that is best captured as collective stewardship. The world is sustainable when humankind as a whole is able to live well with each other and within the systemic logic of the planetary boundaries.

What is needed for sustainability transformations to happen?
The Art of Transformative Change

- 4 days of online-training
- core methodologies: CLI Collective Leadership Compass
- tuition fee: In person € 1,900 | online € 1,500
Registration status: OPEN

12 December — 15 December 2023
Kurfürstenstraße 1, Potsdam, Germany
Learn more
What is meant by sustainability transformation?

Descriptions of sustainability range from the balance of people, planet and profit to the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development goals; and from managing more than 10 billion people within planetary boundaries to planetary thrivability or to a mutually supportive harmony of people and planet. Transformation to sustainability is the pathway to co-creating a world that works for 100% of humanity and the planet. It needs to take place at all levels of the (global) society and requires a fundamental change in the way we operate with each other and the planet. Transformation has a range of meanings, but the term broadly captures the following characteristics:

  • Deeply innovative approach towards thinking, acting, power structures and relationships.
  • Both radical and incremental change in the global operating system.
  • An evolution of structures and systems into better functionality benefiting all of humanity and the planet.
  • A co-creative process of mutual learning towards increasing vitality of an integrated planetary life.
  • A re-purposing of institutions and economic structures so humankind operates with each other and the planet in a responsible way.

The ultimate goal is not only to stop climate change and maintain a safe operating space for humankind and the planet, but also invigorate the human competencies to co-create multiple forms of responsible citizenship in the era of the Anthropocene – the evolutionary period, in which the behavior of human beings determines the future of the planet.

What needs to happen together to enable transformations?
Six mutually supportive transformation enablers are the necessary components to develop transformation strategies

Do your own transformation enablers assessment with the Collective Leadership Compass.
➔ Get together in your transformation network and conduct the assessment as a basis of strategizing and improving your impact.
➔ Download the sheet, fill out the evaluation column, and find your visualized results on the second tab.

What needs to happen together to enable transformations

The six mutually supportive transformation enablers are based on the Collective Leadership Compass. Each of them is a necessary component to develop transformation strategies that become successful. Their mutually supportive character means that we need to combine them to be able to strategize the path together for that leads to tangible transformative change. Together, they function as a stewardship architecture for planning and implementing transformative change.

  • Enlivening narratives: What are the stories that inspire transformative change?
  • Enabling structures: How do we organize collective stewardship of change?
  • Life-enhancing innovation: How do we guide innovations towards regenerative futures?
  • Empowering metrics: How do we measure progress?
  • Multi-stakeholder governance: How do we learn collectively and navigate differences?
  • Guiding regulations: How do we safeguard the commons and planetary life-support systems?
Stewarding Sustainability Transformations
An Emerging Theory and Practice of SDG Implementation.

Dr. Petra Kuenkel's new book as a Report to the Club of Rome 2019
• Serves as a guidebook for decision-makers, researchers and activists who need to navigate complex change towards sustainable development.
• Inspires academics and practitioners alike to explore new routes towards co-creating responsible futures in the era of the Anthropocene.
• Translates a pattern approach to systems theory into a practical guidance for planning and implementing interventions across all sectors of society.
• Sets a new direction in the field of sustainability transformations and will become a foundation for planning collective action and achieving impact at scale.

Order here
Transformation Literacy conferences
Transformation Literacy Conference III (22, 24, 26 Apr 2024)


The Transformation Literacy Conference week 2024 will take place 22, 24, 26 April 2024.

The in-person kick-off event with the Transformative Partnership Award ceremony will be in Potsdam, Germany, on 19 April.

Stay tuned and get the latest news from CLI and #TLC2024:

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    Past conferences
    Transformation Literacy Conference II (24, 26, 28 Apr 2023)
    Transformation Literacy Conference 2023: Kick-off and Welcome

    The Transformation Literacy Conference week 2023: Governance and Democracy took place on 24, 26, 28 April 2023. We also had an in-person kick-off event Potsdam (Berlin/area), Germany, on 21 April 2023 afternoon and evening, where we celebrated into Earth Day with friends and partners of CLI and launched Dr. Petra Kuenkel’s new book and the Transformative Partnership Award.

    The theme of the 2023 conference was “Governance and Democracy”. You will find more information below.

    If you have questions on the TLC or want to suggest an idea for the future, feel free to contact Martin Fielko.

    Transformation Literacy Conference week

    - 3 conference days (24, 26, 28 April)
    - online networking opportunities
    - free of charge for ticket holders
    Registration status: CLOSED

    24 April — 28 April 2023
    Kurfürstenstraße 1, Potsdam, Germany
    Learn more

    Human activity is exceeding planetary boundaries, the very systems that make life on Earth possible. Food, water, and energy systems are threatened, as well as healthcare, education, and social services, and democracy, justice, and peace.

    The recent Club of Rome’s report ‘Earth4All’ makes a strong and clear case: The necessary turnarounds for a sustainable and regenerative future are still possible, but require governance and governing structures based on trust that focus on societal wellbeing and equity as a basis for sustainability transformations.

    Good governance occurs when representative stakeholders are engaged in an inclusive and participatory manner in decision-making processes that are devolved to the “lowest” appropriate level, where relevant expertise, experience, and stake are most present.

    Our week-long 2023 conference series focuses on how our many different transformative change efforts can make a decided contribution to such inclusive and participatory governance – serving the diversity of sustainability goals we are seeking to realize for life on planet Earth.

    Conference days – main sessions:

    Monday, 24 April 2023 – 2:00-4:00pm CET

    Narratives and Metrics:

    How can we tell stories and integrate metrics in our sustainability initiatives that contribute to good governance and democracy?

    Narratives and Metrics

    Wednesday, 26 April 2023 – 2:00-4:00pm CET

    Innovation and Regulations:

    How can we ensure that our innovative initiatives integrate the social foundations ensuring trust, wellbeing and equity in decision-making processes?

    Innovation and Regulations

    Friday, 28 April 2023 – 2:00-4:00pm CET

    Governance and Structures:

    How can we steward collective processes and build representative dialogue structures in diverse and challenging governance realities?

    Governance and Structures

    Participants were free to choose whether they would only like to participate a single session, or the whole conference week. With their ticket they had access to all online sessions and networking opportunities.

    participants in total (all 2023 sessions)
    countries where participants come from

    More #TLC2023 stats:

    Professional level of participants
    Executives, Management, Directors 11%
    Middle-Management, Project Coordinators 17%
    Staff, Consultants 66%
    Students, Trainees, Interns 3%
    Not disclosed 3%


    Sectors of participants
    Civil Society 47%
    Private Sector 27%
    Public Sector 14%
    Research & Education 12%


    Regional distribution
    52% Europe
    17% Africa
    16% Americas
    14% Asia
    1% Oceania
    #TLC2023 Conference Report

    You can view and download the full report on the Transformation Literacy Conference 2023 here.

    Transformation Literacy Conference week

    - 3 conference days (24, 26, 28 April)
    - online networking opportunities
    - free of charge for ticket holders
    Registration status: CLOSED

    24 April — 28 April 2023
    Kurfürstenstraße 1, Potsdam, Germany
    Learn more
    Transformation Literacy Conference I (24 Feb, 03 Mar, 10 Mar, 17 Mar, 24 Mar, 31 Mar, 2022)
    Each of us can become Transformation Literacy masters and in so doing create a change-maker who knows how to collaborate across institutions and societal sectors for transformative change. It is by bringing together the six enablers that we can steward change together and make transformation possible. The video gives a short introduction to what you can expect from the first conference 'Narratives'.

    Conference Documentation:

    From Collaboration to Transformation Literacy

    The year 2022 signaled a dramatic milestone: 50 years had passed since the first publication of the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth”. This milestone coincided with the sense of urgency transmitted by the 2021 IPCC report contrasted by COP26 results which are a far cry from the action that is needed to transform our societies, our economies, and even our thinking to the degree needed for regenerating our planet. It is high time for us start stewarding together a future we can enjoy living in. The challenge in front of us is a monumental one, but we know that with the right approach we can act collectively to create a future where humankind is in balance with itself and the planet.

    To confront such a challenge, we need tools that are not only grounded in science and practice but also available to everyone: we all need to become masters in the language of transformation. What needs to happen together to enable this transformation? This was the focus of Transformation Literacy conference which explored six mutually supportive Transformation Enablers. In each event we took a deep dive into one of the Transformation Enablers: each of them is a necessary component to become a transformation literacy master, yet their mutually supportive character means that we need to combine them to be able to clearly see the path and the actions needed to lead us collectively toward a better world.

    No single actor has all the solutions, but each actor may essentially contribute a parcel of knowledge, a puzzle piece that counts. Partnering and networks of multi-stakeholder collaboration between business, NGOs, government, the UN, and communities are essential to achieve the SDGs.
    Transformation literacy will be needed at a scale and quality that goes far beyond the current practices. Practitioners and committed groups across the world are already at work on different toolkits, ideas, platforms, and projects to make transformations a reality.

    But what are the most effective approaches that enable transformations not only to take place but also remain sustainable in the long run?

    Key question TLC 2022

    Around this key question, a series of six linked thematic digital events formed the 2022 Transformation Literacy Conference. In total, 396 participants from 50 countries came to the first edition of this conference format.

    Each conference session focused on one of six transformation enablers:

    Narratives and Structures
    Innovations and Metrics
    Governance and Regulations

    “Transformation literacy is the skill to steward transformative change collectively across the boundaries of institutions, nations, sectors and cultures.”

    Petra Kuenkel, author of Stewarding Sustainability Transformations
    More information about implementing Transformation literacy in reality