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Systems Practice Workbook

This resource walks you through a systems practice, and describes process phases (Launch, Gain Clarity, Find Leverage, Act Strategically, and Learn and Adapt) and methods for guiding the practice.
This resource has been developed in collaboration with teams across The Omidyar Group. This workbook aims to fill the gap between the promise of a systems approach for making social change and putting it into practice. It was created alongside curriculum as part of a paid course.
For each method, results, actions, difficulty, time estimation, and tips are included.

System Thinking Tools

A blog series introducing and sharing guidance for using different tools to support systems thinking and practice, including actor mapping, trend mapping, timeline mapping, ecocycle mapping, appreciative inquiry, and world cafe. Each offers a downloadable guide in exchange for an email address.

Publisher

FSG

Discipline or Practice

Systems Change

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Follow the Rabbit: A Field Guide to Systemic Design

This Field Guide is a systems take on typical design thinking methodology. It demonstrates how to design something with a greater emphasis on creativity and humour. The Guide goes through a systemic design project from concept to implementation. It takes you through the workshop planning process, and discusses workshop roles and client relations. In the FAQs, you’ll find explanations to some commonly asked questions about systemic design concepts to help you introduce others to SD and bring them along with you. It contains descriptions of 17 different methods, including pros, cons,and considerations of each.

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

The Cynefin Mini-Book

This mini-book is based around the Cynefin framework, a contexutalisation and sense-making framework developed by Dave Snowden. The resource provides an overview of the Cynefin framework and use of narrative research, guidance and a tool for developing shared sense-making, and tools and guidance for developing a portfolio of experiments for different types of problems, distinguishing between complicated and complex problems.
The publisher requires a free login in exchange for downloading the resource.

Publisher

Greg Brougham

Discipline or Practice

Strategic Design

Systems Change

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Scenario Exploration System (SES)

The Scenario Exploration System (SES) is a serious game for future simulation (2035 and 2050). It involves participants exploring their long-term objectives in contrasting scenario-related contexts while interacting with other stakeholders. By creating a realistic journey towards the future, the SES generates a safe space to simulate possible responses connected to any issue of interest to the participants.
There are two editions: "Sustainable Transitions" and "Food Safety and Nutrition Challenges."

Thinking Big: How to Use Theory of Change for Systems Change

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. The report includes case studies demonstrating these pitfalls and rules of thumb in practice.

Discipline or Practice

Systems Change

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

Game of Life 2050

The Game of Life 2050 draws on scenarios for a sustainable European society in 2050. It is an interactive board game in which players consider four scenarios that describe the radical changes needed to be living within key environmental boundaries by 2050.
The game takes a minimum of 2 hours to run (ideally 4 hours) and involves 5-7 actors (each played by one person or in pairs) and one Games Master.
Play consists of three ‘rounds’ in which actors are given a set of circumstances that have unfolded at 10, 20 and 30 years into the timeline, and must decide from a range of options how they will respond.
Game materials and guidebook are both available for download.

Assessing Innovation Potential for Social Impact

The resource is intended for those working in the international development or social impact space to assesses the future impact that innovation can deliver in a system. It focuses on three "systems": The Problem Space, The Innovation Space, The Context.
It's goals are to precipitate better understanding of the problem of focus and the context in which it exists, assess enablers and barriers
to innovation, track system change over time, and assess the impact of a program ex post facto. It includes tools and methods organised into different possible "journeys" that define overall related activities, resources, user values and timelines.

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

A Wayfinder’s Guide to Systems Transformation: 18 insights for catalysts and convenors

This is a report from the Workshop ‘How might we approach transformational change for complex challenges in the future?’, held in London 30-31 August 2017. It provides 18 insights and considerations for playing the enabler, catalyst, and convenor roles in creating a mindset of long-termism.

Discipline or Practice

Systems Change

Challenge-led system mapping, A knowledge management approach

The handbook follows a co-design logic in terms of process, principles and practical tools to support practitioners in the design and implementation of system mapping processes by highlighting the knowledge management component. This resource provides rationale and guidance on the challenge-led system mapping approach, including facilitation guidance for running mapping workshops.
This resource helps mapping practitioners:
• visualise the diversity of innovation projects as a manageable set of clusters;
• mediate and facilitate a dialogue on priority setting and opportunities for innovation amongst multiple stakeholders;
• identify priorities for financial and political support;
• replicate projects in new contexts or connect them with other innovation initiatives;
• embed projects in a wider system to then scale up and foster transformation;
• create a space protected from external pressures and biases
The resource includes tips and tricks as well as examples of how this method has been used in practice.