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The Children's Society - Designing and delivering Systems Change


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Adam Groves And Lucy Dacey from the Children's Society visited Sitra Lab's HERÄÄMÖ breakfast event on 24.10.2019.

Systems thinking and systems change might sound like academic jargon but many social innovators apply approaches that are based on these practices, but without all the difficult language.

One of the organisations using such an approach is the UK-based The Children’s Society, where systems change work done for the benefit of children and young people is part of the work of almost every employee. The charity organises the Systems Changers programme, which builds the confidence and capabilities of frontline practitioners to transform systems and tackle the complex issues faced by young people today.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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The Children's Society - Designing and delivering Systems Change

  1. 1. Designing and delivering Systems Change Adam Groves Design Lead, Accelerating Impact Lucy Dacey Programme Manager, Disrupting Exploitation
  2. 2. 138 years old The Children’s Society – who we are 2 71 frontline services 780 staff
  3. 3. What is systems change?  What does systems change mean to you?  Why do you think it’s important? (Why did you bother to come today!?)  What examples have you seen of it in your work? 3
  4. 4. What does systems change mean to us?  “Systems changes are changes to the people, organisations, policies, processes, cultures, beliefs and environments that make up the system” (Fulfilling Lives) What does this mean in our work?  “Different children same problem”  Making changes that improve the experience of children in comparable situations in the future. 4
  5. 5. Our (inevitable?) journey BACK towards systems change ‘Multiple disadvantage’. Intensifying need. Rapid social and economic change. Whole person approach. Multi-agency working. ● Brilliant practitioners ● Brilliant services ● Siloes ● Culture / Permission
  6. 6. What would it look like to take a systems change approach to tackling criminal exploitation of children? Disrupting Exploitation Programme Case study 6
  7. 7. Designing for systems change 7 Journey into crisis Pre-crisis Crisis point “Different children same problem”
  8. 8. Designing for systems change 8 Journey into crisis Pre-crisis Crisis point Preventative work
  9. 9. Designing for systems change 9 Journey into crisis Pre-crisis Crisis point Culture Context Policy / Rules Information flows Resource But what about the rest of the system?
  10. 10. Designing for systems change 10 Journey into crisis Pre-crisis Crisis point Culture Context Policy / Rules Information flows Resource Whole systems approach
  11. 11. Our (rapid!) design process 11  Interviews  Workshops  Evidence review ---  Identified gaps  Identified partners  Designed roles
  12. 12. ‘Social infrastructure’ 12 Young people / Professionals Practitioners Social infrastructure Coaching Time Money Mandate
  13. 13. Our Disrupting Exploitation programme Staff split their time between systems change and one to one work Multi-disciplinary teams in three cities learning from each other Budget and permission to test new ideas Insight from young people and practitioners valued and acted upon Embedding ourselves in systems and partner locations Our advisory board represents the system we’re trying to change
  14. 14. Information & intelligence flows Contextual Culture, training, tools Policy and procedure
  15. 15. Case study: a systems change experiment
  16. 16. Two core approaches Empowering our workforce to be Systems Changers (whatever service they work in) 16 Designing and delivering frontline programmes with an explicit systems change focus
  17. 17. Lessons Learnt 17  We are part of the system that needs changing  Recruiting systems changers is hard  Crisis management has to come first  There is appetite and interest in this work  When it works it’s energising
  18. 18. Any questions and ways to get in touch Lucy Dacey National Programme Manager, Disrupting Exploitation @lucyhdacey Adam Groves Design Lead @adgro