Innovative exchange on successful strategies of change

Successful change requires systematic analysis. But successful change also requires leadership by doers as well as thinkers who thrive in a climate of challenge and change and find solutions to the most pressing issues of transformation. The Transformation Thinkers network is a group of more than 120 agents of change from 72 countries worldwide who are exchanging their experiences and work together for good governance and democratization.


Foto Sabine Donner
Sabine Donner
Senior Expert
Foto Hauke Hartmann
Dr. Hauke Hartmann
Senior Expert
Foto Claudia Härterich
Claudia Härterich
Project Manager
Foto Sabine Steinkamp
Sabine Steinkamp
Project Assistant



Successful transformation requires systematic analysis, but it also requires leadership by dedicated agents of change – doers and thinkers who thrive in a climate of challenge and change. The Transformation Thinkers initiative is a network of 150 people from 72 countries worldwide who are exchanging their experiences and ideas to find viable solutions to the most pressing issues in their countries.

Conceptualized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Transformation Thinkers initiative brings together young leaders from developing and transitioning countries for an international knowledge exchange on good governance. In numerous workshops, panels and discussions the participants were enabled to reflect and debate their unique experiences on the way to democracy and market economy.

The organizers invited participants from a broad range of sectors – public, academic, media, civil society, entrepreneurial – to factor in as many perspectives as possible. The interregional make-up of the discourse illustrated similar problem situations and solution approaches in different environments. The interactive and experimental format of debates, strategy simulations and trainings led to creativity, flexibility and trust among the participants.

Over the years, a network of now more than 150 Transformation Thinkers from 72 different countries grew from the loose structure of former conference participants. The exchange of knowledge – mostly selective, sparsely structured and positively opportunistic – has continued steadily and with dedication and in friendship from all sides. Contacts remain, discussions continue and a frame of reference was created with which many Transformation Thinkers identify and where they feel at home. The BTI-Team is proud to belong to a network of dedicated reformers and brilliant minds and continues to offer the Transformation Index as a reference point for joint analysis and initiatives.

Stories of Change