Automated Economic Revolution: There is No Just Transition Without Community, Corporate Change Makers, and Academics

The automated economic revolution is here to stay and our ongoing collective failure to take this transition seriously places already marginal communities on the brink of living in a semi to permanent jobless and landless society. Ignoring it will only make existing disparities worst. At best, it is naïve to think that we can stop this transition by applying the same approach to breaking generations of poverty and addressing climate change to an automated economy. In some cases, those dedicated to eliminating poverty (upstream or downstream) have made more money studying its root causes and promoting the same solutions than transforming communities.

To transform communities requires moving beyond the conventional ladder of citizen participation and cross sector collaboration. Asset mapping, social change, and social change innovations are more effectively created with the people directly affected by poverty and other complex social social problems. To highlight this point is not to place blame or point fingers. It is to acknowledge what is not working and how many people are being left behind without access to basic needs. More importantly, it comes from the reality that change management in the 21st century must be multidimensional if it's going to be effective and help shape a just transition.

At Rivera Consulting, our theory of change is simple – the journey beyond the bell curve (see Figure 1):  We must build new systems of social change and collaboration to produce and shape a more inclusive government and people centered economy (see Figure 1).


  • What if corporations, which produce the most effective results (quantitative and qualitative) in our society – for good or for bad – became principal actors for sustainable urban revitalization?

  • What if we employed multi-dimensional social intervention and community empowerment strategies to transform community participation?

  • How can popular education learning hubs sustain community empowerment?

Figure 1: Organizational Life Cycle

Figure 1: Organizational Life Cycle

MIT Community Innovator Lab

MIT Community Innovator Lab

Our experience over the last two years at Rivera Consulting, Inc. with our ademic, nonprofit, and real-estate partners, has generated great case studies that help us advance all the questions above. Fundamentally we are exploring how value-based learning hubs can forge the foundation for short term to long term cross sector partnerships. We are learning and experimenting with how corporate change makers and community anchors may be better suited to become new protagonists for social change. Recently, we partnered with the Office of At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and MIT Community Innovator Lab, to launch a bottom up policy development process for small business stakeholders in Greater Boston- a model that can substitute and transform the outdated model of citizen participation in the United States.  

We are driven by results and impact, as we offer community, academic, and corporate partners strategic operational change management processes, stakeholder management, and staff coaching (see Figure 1). Thought the use of asset mapping, we effectively partner with clients to create learning hubs that allows them to develop their own collective agency based on self-determination. This produces a paradigm shift needed to identify and develop their community’s assets while using their own solutions and developing trust to help project discovery with other public and private stockholders.  

At Rivera Consulting, Inc., deep democracy is an urban planning, political and social change tool kit that can support the paradigm shift necessary for a just transition.