Many issues the charity sector is trying to tackle are systemic—originating from how our society is structured, rather than any isolated factor.
Systems change—or ‘systems thinking’—is a way of trying to get a handle on this complexity to bring about positive social impact.
What’s more, we think it helps charities and funders to be more aware of the systems they are a part of. This way, they can be sure they are making things better, not worse, in the long run, and are working towards lasting change.
Find out more about systems change and its role in the charity sector.
Key tools, resources and commentary on systems change
Systems change has been attracting the attention of those in the social sector who want to deal with the root causes of problems, but, despite the buzz, much of what is written is abstract in tone. With the support of LankellyChase Foundation we have produced this guide to plug a gap in the systems change literature—providing accessible material and recommendations for action.
We think that, applied well, theory of change can support charities and funders to take a systemic approach to their work. This report identifies five common pitfalls that organisations fall into when using theory of change, and walks through five rules of thumb that will help organisations to use the approach to tackle complex problems.
Systems change can be infuriatingly abstract and riddled with jargon. But getting to grips with it provides realism about what creates and sustains social problems. And it helps us challenge our own role within systems: are we solving or perpetuating problems? So argues Rob Abercrombie, who here shares what he's discovered about systems change that have helped him get to grips with approach.
'Charities and funders don’t need to become experts in theory of change and systems change to benefit from them.' A week after we launched our new guide to theory of change for systems change, one of it's authors, Katie Boswell reflects on the process the team went through to create it, and what they learned about thinking big in pursuit of change.
Today we have published a guide to systems change aimed at de-mystifying the topic and helping practitioners engage with it. The logic for a systems change approach to tackling social problems is strong, but it means breaking down artificial boundaries and working with not only other charities, but funders, the public sector and the private sector too.
Julian Corner Chief Executive of the Lankelly Chase Foundation argues that as change rarely comes in the form we expect, our strategies to achieve it should be just as flexible.
Guest blog from Alice Evans, Director of Systems Change at LankellyChase Foundation, reflecting on our guide to systems change and drawing insights from the people and organisations they've funded.
From Michael Gove making moves 'to reform our examination system' to Ed Milliband promising to 'reshape our social security system', it feels like systems change is all around us. But what is it? And how can people in the social sector get involved, intervene and contribute to radical and long-lasting change?
‘Systems change’ seems to be growing in popularity, some might even say it’s a trend. But, as Charlie Howard argues, it's not as new an idea as it sounds. She talks through her first encounter with the approach, and how it could help us do more for service users.