Change agents often seek change at one of several different levels - individuals, groups, organizations, or communities. Regardless of level, paying attention to SPEC's four basic components can help achieve effective, long-term success. Taken as an integrated whole, the four components - Strengths, Prevention, Empowerment, and Community Change - work together to help us make change possible at multiple levels at the same time.
In their professional and activist roles, most change agents target one or two levels in particular. This doesn't make SPEC irrelevant, though, because change agents at every level will have limited success if they don't take into account the broader multi-level context. Of course, specific techniques may vary depending on the primary focus of action.
Clicking on each component will take you to more discussion as well as relevant papers and links on the SPECway Wiki. Registered members can add new resources and provide more information about what's already listed.
Unlike traditional approaches that seek to diagnose and fix individual and community deficits, SPEC's strength-based orientation identifies and builds upon individual and community assets, resilience, and ability to thrive in difficult situations. [links]
Wellness depends on preventing problems from developing in the first place. Rather than waiting to fix problems we know will develop, SPEC identifies and reduces risk factors and promotes protective factors in individuals, families, groups, and communities. This approach is not only effective; it is also cost-effective. [links]
Empowerment programs aim to increase the power of individuals, groups, and entire communities. Community members in an empowering program share with professionals the power to make decisions and control resources. [links]
Instead of simply tinkering with symptoms, community change means identifying the root causes of problems and creating new systems or structures that enhance citizen participation and well-being. [links]
- Key Stages for change agents at all levels
- Implementing SPEC Policies and Practices in the Community
- Organizational Conditions Leading to Transformative Practice - 2009 presentation offering a complete overview
- Organizational Change for Community Well-being (English) (Spanish) - 2009 conference presentation