Systems Thinking For Social Change

Author: David Peter Stroh
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 9781603585804
Release Date: 2015-10
Genre:

Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation. How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results. Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert. Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people end homelessness and increase affordable housing, improve public health, strengthen public education and access to early childhood development services, protect child welfare, reform the criminal justice system, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more. The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

Systems Thinking For Social Change

Author: David Peter Stroh
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 9781603585811
Release Date: 2015-09-24
Genre: Business & Economics

Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation. How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results. Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert. Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people improve their efforts to end homelessness, improve public health, strengthen education, design a system for early childhood development, protect child welfare, develop rural economies, facilitate the reentry of formerly incarcerated people into society, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more. The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.

Measuring and Improving Social Impacts

Author: Marc J. Epstein
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351276221
Release Date: 2017-09-08
Genre: Business & Economics

Identifying, measuring and improving social impact is a significant challenge for corporate and private foundations, charities, NGOs and corporations. How best to balance possible social and environmental benefits (and costs) against one another? How does one bring clarity to multiple possibilities and opportunities? Based on years of work and new field studies from around the globe, the authors have written a book for managers that is grounded in the best academic and managerial research.It is a practical guide that describes the steps needed for identifying, measuring and improving social impact. This approach is useful in maximizing the impact of different types of investments, including grants and donations, impact investments, and commercial investments.With numerous examples of actual organizational approaches, research into more than fifty organizations, and extensive practical guidance and best practices, Measuring and Improving Social Impacts fills a critical gap.

Thinking in Systems

Author: Donella Meadows
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 1603581480
Release Date: 2008-12-03
Genre: Science

In the years following her role as the lead author of the international bestseller, Limits to Growth—the first book to show the consequences of unchecked growth on a finite planet— Donella Meadows remained a pioneer of environmental and social analysis until her untimely death in 2001. Thinking in Systems, is a concise and crucial book offering insight for problem solving on scales ranging from the personal to the global. Edited by the Sustainability Institute’s Diana Wright, this essential primer brings systems thinking out of the realm of computers and equations and into the tangible world, showing readers how to develop the systems-thinking skills that thought leaders across the globe consider critical for 21st-century life. Some of the biggest problems facing the world—war, hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation—are essentially system failures. They cannot be solved by fixing one piece in isolation from the others, because even seemingly minor details have enormous power to undermine the best efforts of too-narrow thinking. While readers will learn the conceptual tools and methods of systems thinking, the heart of the book is grander than methodology. Donella Meadows was known as much for nurturing positive outcomes as she was for delving into the science behind global dilemmas. She reminds readers to pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable, to stay humble, and to stay a learner. In a world growing ever more complicated, crowded, and interdependent, Thinking in Systems helps readers avoid confusion and helplessness, the first step toward finding proactive and effective solutions.

The Climate Change Playbook

Author: Dennis Meadows
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 9781603586764
Release Date: 2016-05-05
Genre: Education

Advocates and teachers often find it difficult to communicate the complexities of climate change, because the people they are trying to reach hold so many mistaken assumptions. They assume, for example, that when climate change becomes an obvious threat to our everyday lives, there will still be time enough to make changes that will avoid disaster. Yet at that point it will be too late. Or they assume we can use our current paradigms and policy tools to find solutions. Yet the approaches that caused damage in the first place will cause even more damage in the future. Even the increasingly dire warnings from scientists haven’t shaken such assumptions. Is there another way to reach people? The simple, interactive exercises in The Climate Change Playbook can help citizens better understand climate change, diagnose its causes, anticipate its future consequences, and effect constructive change. Adapted from The Systems Thinking Playbook, the twenty-two games are now specifically relevant to climate-change communications and crafted for use by experts, advocates, and educators. Illustrated guidelines walk leaders through setting each game up, facilitating it, and debriefing participants. Users will find games that are suitable for a variety of audiences—whether large and seated, as in a conference room, or smaller and mobile, as in a workshop, seminar, or meeting. Designed by leading thinkers in systems, communications, and sustainability, the games focus on learning by doing.

Transformative Scenario Planning

Author: Adam Kahane
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN: 9781609944902
Release Date: 2012
Genre: Business & Economics

Getting Unstuck People who are trying to solve tough economic, social, and environmental problems often find themselves frustratingly stuck. They can’t solve their problems in their current context, which is too unstable or unfair or unsustainable. They can’t transform this context on their own—it’s too complex to be grasped or shifted by any one person or organization or sector. And the people whose cooperation they need don’t understand or agree with or trust them or each other. Transformative scenario planning is a powerful new methodology for dealing with these challenges. It enables us to transform ourselves and our relationships and thereby the systems of which we are a part. At a time when divisions within and among societies are producing so many people to get stuck and to suffer, it offers hope—and a proven approach—for moving forward together.

The Systems View of Life

Author: Fritjof Capra
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 9781107011366
Release Date: 2014-04-10
Genre: Business & Economics

The first volume to integrate life's biological, cognitive, social, and ecological dimensions into a single, coherent framework.

Social Theory

Author: Roberta Garner
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 9781442606487
Release Date: 2014-04-29
Genre: Social Science

The organization of this popular social theory reader, which pairs classical articles with contemporary theoretical and empirical studies, highlights the historical flow of social theory and demonstrates how disagreements and confrontations shape theory over time. Written in clear, down-to-earth language, the introductions to each selection link theorists to one another, illustrating how theoretical traditions are not rigidly separate but are always in conversation, addressing and challenging each other. The third edition incorporates significant changes: more readings reflecting a wide diversity of theorists, a completely revamped chapter on gender, new chapters on race and culture, and unique material on the "transitional giants" who have helped to transform classical theory into contemporary theory. As well, new contextual and biographical materials surround each reading and each chapter includes a study guide with key terms and innovative discussion questions and classroom exercises. The result is a fresh take on social theory that foregrounds a plurality of perspectives and reflects contemporary trends in the field, while still managing to be a teachable and affordable text.

Purposeful Program Theory

Author: Sue C. Funnell
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 0470939893
Release Date: 2011-02-09
Genre: Education

Between good intentions and great results lies a program theory—not just a list of tasks but a vision of what needs to happen, and how. Now widely used in government and not-for-profit organizations, program theory provides a coherent picture of how change occurs and how to improve performance. Purposeful Program Theory shows how to develop, represent, and use program theory thoughtfully and strategically to suit your particular situation, drawing on the fifty-year history of program theory and the authors' experiences over more than twenty-five years. "From needs assessment to intervention design, from implementation to outcomes evaluation, from policy formulation to policy execution and evaluation, program theory is paramount. But until now no book has examined these multiple uses of program theory in a comprehensive, understandable, and integrated way. This promises to be a breakthrough book, valuable to practitioners, program designers, evaluators, policy analysts, funders, and scholars who care about understanding why an intervention works or doesn't work." —Michael Quinn Patton, author, Utilization-Focused Evaluation "Finally, the definitive guide to evaluation using program theory! Far from the narrow 'one true way' approaches to program theory, this book provides numerous practical options for applying program theory to fulfill different purposes and constraints, and guides the reader through the sound critical thinking required to select from among the options. The tour de force of the history and use of program theory is a truly global view, with examples from around the world and across the full range of content domains. A must-have for any serious evaluator." —E. Jane Davidson, PhD, Real Evaluation Ltd. Companion Web site: josseybass.com/go/funnellrogers

Innovation and Scaling for Impact

Author: Christian Seelos
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9781503600997
Release Date: 2017-01-04
Genre: Business & Economics

Innovation and Scaling for Impact forces us to reassess how social sector organizations create value. Drawing on a decade of research, Christian Seelos and Johanna Mair transcend widely held misconceptions, getting to the core of what a sound impact strategy entails in the nonprofit world. They reveal an overlooked nexus between investments that might not pan out (innovation) and expansion based on existing strengths (scaling). In the process, it becomes clear that managing this tension is a difficult balancing act that fundamentally defines an organization and its impact. The authors examine innovation pathologies that can derail organizations by thwarting their efforts to juggle these imperatives. Then, through four rich case studies, they detail innovation archetypes that effectively sidestep these pathologies and blend innovation with scaling. Readers will come away with conceptual models to drive progress in the social sector and tools for defining the future of their organizations.

The Regenerative Business

Author: Carol Sanford
Publisher: Nicholas Brealey
ISBN: 9781473669673
Release Date: 2017-10-10
Genre: Business & Economics

Forewords by: Cheryl Y. Kiser, Babson College & Michiel Bakker, Google Courageous leaders today are calling for a disruptive yet effective way of working: one that unlocks significant new levels of innovation, delivers enduring financial results, and creates exceptional customer loyalty while simultaneously building human capacity to contribute to on-going positive change. The good news is there is a proven, but infrequently taken, path. Through a fundamentally contrasting paradigm, Carol Sanford shows leaders why today's so-called business "best practices" undermine success-and then, how to transform their business into something so flexible, so innovative, so developmental, it becomes virtually non-displaceable in the market. The Regenerative Business is built by connecting every person in the business to the "essential core" of that business - its unique foundation for innovation and market power. This provides the fulcrum for an organizational culture that embraces the internal destabilization and discomfort that comes with responding creatively to the unfamiliar. The payoff for doing so is a motivated and innovative workforce that is prepared to take a business to the top of its industry - and stay there. Carol's work focuses on what fundamentally fuels the organization: the capacity and capabilities of the people within it and the design of work to empower them. She defines these for readers and shows that when these are internally developed, you change who people are and what they are able to take on, which she calls "promises beyond able-ness." She shows through many cases drawn from her work that by implement this all-encompassing way of working, businesses are able to have a positive impact beyond the bottom line, to the broader marketplace and the communities in which they operate.

Learning with Cases

Author: Louise A. Mauffette-Leenders
Publisher:
ISBN: 0771425848
Release Date: 2007
Genre: Business education


Lean Impact

Author: Ann Mei Chang
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 1119506603
Release Date: 2018-11-06
Genre: Business & Economics

Despite enormous investments of time and money, are we making a dent on the social and environmental challenges of our time? What if we could exponentially increase our impact? Around the world, a new generation is looking beyond greater profits, for meaningful purpose. But, unlike business, few social interventions have achieved significant impact at scale. Inspired by the modern innovation practices, popularized by bestseller The Lean Startup, that have fueled technology breakthroughs touching every aspect of our lives, Lean Impact turns our attention to a new goal - radically greater social good. Social change is far more complicated than building a new app. It requires more listening, more care, and more stakeholders. To make a lasting difference, solutions must be embraced by beneficiaries, address root causes, and include an engine that can accelerate growth to reach the scale of the need. Lean Impact offers bold ideas to reach audacious goals through customer insight, rapid experimentation and iteration, and a relentless pursuit of impact. Ann Mei Chang brings a unique perspective from across sectors, from her years as a tech executive in Silicon Valley to her most recent experience as the Chief Innovation Officer at USAID. She vividly illustrates the book with real stories from interviews with over 200 organizations across the US and around the world. Whether you are a nonprofit, social enterprise, triple bottom line company, foundation, government agency, philanthropist, impact investor, or simply donate your time and money, Lean Impact is an essential guide to maximizing social impact and scale.