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.

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.

Mission Control

Author: Liana Downey
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9781351861175
Release Date: 2016-11-03
Genre: Business & Economics

In the last ten years the number of nonprofits and social sector organizations has grown by almost 25 percent, while charitable giving declined 30 percent over the same period. As a result, many organizations are chasing grants, tweaking and adding to their core activities to match what they think funders are looking for. Almost half of nonprofits surveyed nationally in 2014 said they added additional programs in the last year. The result is colloquially known as "mission creep"-- organizations trying to be everything to everyone. Yet research suggests that the more goals individuals or organizations pursue, the less likely they are to achieve them, leaving these organizations often overwhelmed, underfunded, and unfulfilled. Mission Control: How Nonprofits and Governments Can Focus, Achieve More, and Change the World is designed to restore focus and gain "mission control" to identify the things they should and should not do to drive impact. Drawing from the author's experience of working with thousands of clients at nonprofits and government agencies around the world, both large and small, the book represents the stories of countless mission-driven organizations. Downey helps leaders, teams, executive directors, and boards with the critical task of clarifying an organization's sweet spot at the intersection of what it is good at, what its clients need, and the activities that get measurable and sustainable results.

How Change Happens

Author: Duncan Green
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198785392
Release Date: 2016-10-27
Genre: Social Science

Human society is full of would-be "change agents," a restless mix of campaigners, lobbyists, and officials, both individuals and organizations, set on transforming the world. They want to improve public services, reform laws and regulations, guarantee human rights, get a fairer deal for those on the sharp end, achieve greater recognition for any number of issues, or simply be treated with respect. Striking then, why so many universities lack programs for social activists, to which students can turn for advice and inspiration. Instead, scholarly discussions of change are fragmented with few conversations crossing disciplinary boundaries, rarely making it onto the radar of those actively seeking change. This book bridges the gap between academia and practice, bringing together the best research from a range of academic disciplines and the evolving practical understanding of activists to explore the topic of social and political change. Drawing on many first-hand examples from the global experience of Oxfam, one of the world's largest social justice NGOs, as well as the author's insights from studying and working on international development, it tests ideas on how change happens and offers the latest thinking on what works to achieve progressive change.

Measuring and Improving Social Impacts

Author: Marc J. Epstein
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN: 9781609949785
Release Date: 2014-03-17
Genre: Business & Economics

The world is beset with enormous problems. And as a nonprofit, NGO, foundation, impact investor, or socially responsible company, your organization is on a mission to solve them. But what exactly should you do? And how will you know whether it’s working? Too many people assume that good intentions will result in meaningful actions and leave it at that. But thanks to Marc Epstein and Kristi Yuthas, social impact can now be evaluated with the same kind of precision achieved for any other organizational function. Based on years of research and analysis of field studies from around the globe, Epstein and Yuthas offer a five-step process that will help you gain clarity about the impacts that matter most to you and will provide you with methods to measure and improve them. They outline a systematic approach to deciding what resources you should invest, what problem you should address, and which activities and organizations you should support. Once you’ve made those decisions, you can use their tools, frameworks, and metrics to define exactly what success looks like, even for goals like reducing global warming or poverty that are extremely difficult to measure. Then they show you how to use that data to further develop and increase your social impact. Epstein and Yuthas personally interviewed leaders at over sixty different organizations for this book and include examples from nearly a hundred more. This is unquestionably the most complete, practical, and thoroughly researched guide to taking a rigorous, data-driven approach to expanding the good you do in the world.

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 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.

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.

Can t Not Do

Author: Paul Shoemaker
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781119131595
Release Date: 2015-08-03
Genre: Business & Economics

With so many social challenges facing our world, trying to effect change feels daunting. The problems are complex, the politics murky, and the players innumerable. Yet, every day there are regular heroes making a significant impact on our most intractable social issues. They are not famous like Bono or Bill Gates. But a common urge drives them. Can't Not Do is a catchphrase for the urge that captures the heart of effective social change agents—explaining, in their own words, their passion and drive: "I can't not do this." "It's not that I can do this, it's that I can't not." "I could not imagine not doing something about this issue." And, it reveals our current situation's urgency. The surprising truth from the trenches is: we already have numerous proven solutions for our many social challenges; what our world needs most, and what most changes our children's future, are more people prepared and committed to act on their social impulses for the long haul. Innovation helps. Money helps, too. But greater numbers of committed people help the most. If you feel an internal, persistent call to do more for the world, Can't Not Do will help you to bridge the gap between "wanting to do" and "doing"—to access the drive of an effective change agent, to break through self-imposed barriers, to learn key principles for success, and to start seeing yourself acting as a change agent. There is no "secret sauce" someone is born with and no special club needed to be successful at social change. Rather, successful change agents share some fundamental orientations to the world and to their committed cause and, over time, learn certain lessons that help them become more effective. These lessons are reflected in Can't Not Do in seven seemingly simple questions that provide guideposts and unlock the reader's potential to make a difference for a social cause they care about. The seven questions also help the reader to discern how he or she can make the greatest impact—whether that's a large commitment such as starting or working for a social venture or a small but consistent one such as volunteering skills and know-how a few hours per month to a cause. This isn't a self-help book. It's an inspiring narrative intertwined with a "street-readiness" dialogue, between the author and you, between you and your inner aspirations. These are authentic success stories, vital questions, and unconventional answers that can guide and inspire you to realize your greatest potential.

Dialogue Mapping

Author: Jeffrey Conklin
Publisher: Wiley
ISBN: 0470017686
Release Date: 2006-01-09
Genre: Business & Economics

In contrast to the use of agendas and restrictive structures, dialogue mapping is a facilitation technique that allows the intelligence and learning of the group to emerge naturally. Each participant can see how their comments contribute (or don't) to the coherence and order of the group's thinking. The first full-length book to bring dialogue mapping to a wider audience, Dialogue Mapping provides an exciting new conceptual framework that will change the way readers view projects and project management.

Just Change

Author: Tynesia Boyea-Robinson
Publisher: Advantage Media Group
ISBN: 1599327767
Release Date: 2017-01-05
Genre: Business & Economics

BE INSPIRED TO CREATE ENDURING CHANGE Gaps in opportunity limit our full potential as a country. The disparities in education, income, and health among low-income communities continue to widen. Nevertheless, equitable access to opportunities for all citizens is the key to a sustainable national economy. In order to effectively address systemic inequities in our society, we must disrupt the way we think about and approach social change. Join Tynesia Boyea-Robinson in Just Change as she shares stories and case studies focused on innovative approaches to large-scale social change. Discover tested tools and strategies to implement change in your own communities, and be inspired that real, meaningful societal impact is attainable once we understand how to work together and collaborate in new and transformational ways. With wisdom earned in the private and social sectors, Tynesia Boyea- Robinson provides great insights into how systems-level change actually happens and how you can do more to produce it in your community. MARIO MORINO, CHAIRMAN, MORINO INSTITUTE Tynesia Boyea-Robinson knows the power of collaboration and collective action necessary to resolve complex challenges and create lasting impact. ANGELA GLOVER BLACKWELL, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT, POLICYLINK"

The Free Fantasia and the Musical Picturesque

Author: Annette Richards
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0521640776
Release Date: 2001-01-04
Genre: Music

A crucial category across all the arts in the late eighteenth century, the picturesque has lost its currency in modern musical criticism, in spite of its rich potential to shed new light on the fantastical elements of instrumental music in general and the genre of the free fantasia in particular. Just as English garden architecture, in which the picturesque found its origins, was changing the landscape of continental Europe, the fantastical elements of irregularity, temporal displacement, ambiguity, interruption, and self-referentiality in the music of Bach, Haydn and Beethoven were both lauded and criticized in terms borrowed from the discourse of the picturesque. This study reaffirms the centrality of the free fantasia and fantastical gesture in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century musical culture through an interdisciplinary approach that combines the visual, the literary and the musical.

Impact Excellence

Author: Sheri Chaney Jones
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 9781118910979
Release Date: 2014-08-28
Genre: Business & Economics

Learn to identify, capture, and utilize impactful data for organizational transformation Impact & Excellence is the culmination of a four year research study into the most successful data-driven strategies for today's non-profit and government organizations. The book focuses on five strategic elements to success based on proven principles, with solutions that are easy to implement and often lead to sweeping change. Each chapter includes discussion questions and action items to help leaders implement key concepts in their own organizations. Included with purchase is access to the Measurement Culture Survey, which, will allow readers to access a free benchmark report. Learn to implement a measurement culture that emphasizes strong performance and measurable outcomes Read vivid case studies from successful organizations that do things differently Learn to utilize and leverage data to take decisive actions within your organization Avoid common barriers to developing a measurement culture and learn ways to overcome limitations The book utilizes a series of experiences and templates to help leaders develop a unique action plan tailored to their organization's particular circumstances. Filled with real success stories to inspire readers and with full study results available in the appendix, Impact & Excellence is a crucial resource for leaders to enable their social sector organizations to prosper and compete in today's economy.

Resilience

Author: Andrew Zolli
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451683844
Release Date: 2012-07-10
Genre: Science

Discover a powerful new lens for viewing the world with fascinating implications for our companies, economies, societies, and planet as a whole. What causes one system to break down and another to rebound? Are we merely subject to the whim of forces beyond our control? Or, in the face of constant disruption, can we build better shock absorbers—for ourselves, our communities, our economies, and for the planet as a whole? Reporting firsthand from the coral reefs of Palau to the back streets of Palestine, Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy relate breakthrough scientific discoveries, pioneering social and ecological innovations, and important new approaches to constructing a more resilient world. Zolli and Healy show how this new concept of resilience is a powerful lens through which we can assess major issues afresh: from business planning to social develop­ment, from urban planning to national energy security—circumstances that affect us all. Provocative, optimistic, and eye-opening, Resilience sheds light on why some systems, people, and communities fall apart in the face of disruption and, ultimately, how they can learn to bounce back.