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.

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.

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.

Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention

Author: Committee on an Evidence Framework for Obesity Prevention Decision Making
Publisher: National Academies Press
ISBN: 9780309149891
Release Date: 2010-11-24
Genre: Medical

To battle the obesity epidemic in America, health care professionals and policymakers need relevant, useful data on the effectiveness of obesity prevention policies and programs. Bridging the Evidence Gap in Obesity Prevention identifies a new approach to decision making and research on obesity prevention to use a systems perspective to gain a broader understanding of the context of obesity and the many factors that influence it.

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.

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 Social Labs Revolution

Author: Zaid Hassan
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
ISBN: 9781626560758
Release Date: 2014-02-03
Genre: Political Science

Current responses to our most pressing societal challenges—from poverty to ethnic conflict to climate change—are not working. These problems are incredibly dynamic and complex, involving an ever-shifting array of factors, actors, and circumstances. They demand a highly fluid and adaptive approach, yet we address them by devising fixed, long-term plans. Social labs, says Zaid Hassan, are a dramatically more effective response. Social labs bring together a diverse a group of stakeholders—not to create yet another five-year plan but to develop a portfolio of prototype solutions, test those solutions in the real world, use the data to further refine them, and test them again. Hassan builds on a decade of experience—as well as drawing from cutting-edge research in complexity science, networking theory, and sociology—to explain the core principles and daily functioning of social labs, using examples of pioneering labs from around the world. He offers a new generation of problem solvers an effective, practical, and exciting new vision and guide.

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.

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.

Real Impact

Author: Morgan Simon
Publisher: Nation Books
ISBN: 9781568589817
Release Date: 2017-10-03
Genre: Social Science

Impact investment--the support of social and environmental projects with a financial return--has become a hot topic on the global stage; poised to eclipse traditional aid by ten times in the next decade. But the field is at a tipping point: Will impact investment empower millions of people worldwide, or will it replicate the same mistakes that have plagued both aid and finance? Morgan Simon is an investment professional who works at the nexus of social finance and social justice. In Real Impact, she teaches us how to get it right, leveraging the world's resources to truly transform the economy. Over the past seventeen years, Simon has influenced over $150 billion from endowments, families, and foundations. In Real Impact, Simon shares her experience as both investor and activist to offer clear strategies for investors, community leaders, and entrepreneurs alike. Real Impact is essential reading for anyone seeking real change in the world.