Realizing change becomes more feasible if a network of local communities aligns and combines forces with a critical mass of involved citizens and other stakeholders around the globe while applying and promoting proven methods for effective sustainable initiatives for change.

In an international survey, Motivaction was able to identify two groups of potentially impactful individuals:

  • Visionaries – those who are of the opinion that poverty can be eradicated by 2030 and
  • Involved optimists – those who think they can make a difference

We find the key segments groups in a variety of work sectors, with a slight overrepresentation of people working in sectors such as education, media, information and communication, engineering and research and development.

Socio-demographic information is insightful and important, but only tells part of the story. It falls short of providing an in-depth understanding of who the frontrunners really are. To address this limitation, Motivaction used the values-based Glocalities segmentation, which distinguishes five values segments.

The model shows that people with exactly the same socio-demographic background can vary fundamentally in their outlook on life. The Glocalities values segments (see video below) are groups of people that share basic values and have a common outlook on life.

Archetypes form the basis of the storylines in myths, movies or books. Knowing which archetype(s) are appealing among the frontrunners can help non-profit communities to adapt its communication frames accordingly in order to resonate with as many frontrunners as possible.

As this study was performed to help the sustainable development achievements move forward to eradication of poverty was taken as part of the study. Let us now examine the two segments among the frontrunners in more detail using the available tools.

1. Visionaries

The first group of potentially impactful individuals are those who clearly share the view that poverty can actually be eradicated by 2030. Those people comprise 13% of the total population interviewed (n=3,266) in the research.

Millennials are clearly overrepresented, almost half of the visionaries being younger than 34 years. They are highly-educated people who occupy managerial positions more often than non-visionaries. The visionaries usually live in larger households, are often married and raise young children. They are also more likely to be religious than people who do not think that poverty can be ended by 2030.

The visionaries clearly have a distinct values profile when compared to non-visionaries*. In order to ‘map’ their profile, Motivaction used the Glocalities values segmentation (among other variables).










* Non-visionaries are people who believe that ending global poverty by 2030 is rather unlikely to very unlikely. The middle group (“neither likely nor unlikely”) has not been taken into consideration for the purposes of this comparison.

A little more than half of the visionaries belong to the segments of the value of Achievers (33%) and Challengers (22%) (see Glocalities video explanation for a description of these segments).

Both of these groups are ambitious, risk-taking and have a strong drive to succeed in their mission. The values-based segment of the Socializers is less present among the visionaries, which relates to the segments’ less ambitious nature and ‘here and now’ orientation.

Looking at the values, Motivaction notes that the visionaries are, above all, spiritual. This again confirms the earlier high score on religion among the visionaries, compared to non-visionaries who do not believe in a higher power. The visionaries more often believe in the existence of a specific destiny for each person. The religious faith of the visionaries may play a role in their belief that eradicating poverty is possible by 2030.

Visionaries have an ambitious outlook on life (which Motivaction already detected while looking at the values segments) can also be seen in the high score on ‘achievement’ and the prominent position of work in their lives. Apart from being religious and ambitious, visionaries are also global citizens and connected networkers who believe in diversity and being involved in the community.

The conclusion is that the visionaries have a clear values profile, with crystallized views about what the world should be like and what they themselves expect from their lives and others. At this point, it is also insightful to see what makes the non-visionaries unique.

Knowing how they think and what motivates them is utterly useful for a deeper understanding of the topic. As was shown in the values graph, non-visionaries are generally more pessimistic, more often feel let down and find it difficult to deal with complexity.

Other values they particularly appreciate relate to freedom and being carefree. Much more often than average they belong to the values segments of the Socializers, who aim for a carefree life, characterized by harmonious relationships with others and good family life. These people typically do not look far beyond their immediate environment, focus on ‘here and now’ and are less often religious.

2. The involved optimists

This group of people is more likely to belong to the values segments of the Achievers and secondarily to the Creatives. The involved optimists combine the ambitious and status-seeking attitude of the Achievers with the social responsibility, artistic and independent nature of the Creatives.

Among the involved optimists, the Socializers and Conservatives are underrepresented (which is also the case among the visionaries). These segments score relatively high among the withdrawn pragmatists, people who do not think that their individual actions can make a great difference in helping to end global poverty.

It is also important to note that there is a significant overlap between the involved optimists and the visionaries: 4 out of 10 of the visionaries also belong to the group of involved optimists.








The involved optimists have a well-defined and partly similar values profile to the visionaries. They are strongly motivated in their work and ambitions, are geared towards the sharing trend (favoring access to products and services rather than ownership) and contributing to their community.

However, they also look beyond the borders of their immediate environment. They are open to other cultures and life philosophies but are at the same time striving to improve their own social position and attain success. They like to try new things and products, but also go beyond material possessions and look for adventure.

They dare to dream about and contribute to a better world, value the arts, are interested in original stories and would gladly work for an organization contributing to social improvement. Interestingly enough, they score high on trendsetting aspects such as being connectors and influential early adopters (survey items related to the core change-making characteristics Malcom Gladwell described in his book ‘The Tipping Point’).

















This graph illustrates the distinguishing trends among the involved optimists when compared with people who do not think that their individual actions can make a great difference in helping to end global poverty.

When it comes to their own life, similarly to visionaries, involved optimists are much happier about their life as a whole than people on the other side of the spectrum, scoring a 7.2 (versus 6.2) on a 0-10 scale. Regarding appealing organizations among the involved optimists, we observe similarities with the visionaries (pointing to a similar empowering attitude).

World Bank, Grameen Bank for the Poor, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Human Rights Watch are relatively popular among involved optimists. But Motivaction also finds differing preferences, such as their relatively great appeal for, War Child and UNESCO, which point to a more hands-on attitude towards change-making. It is also evidence for a great belief in education and cultural advancement as components of social change.

This article is an extract from a research by Motivaction.