Backbone. Place-based approach. Cross-sector. Systems change. In our work, and the work of our partners, we often get caught up in the world of jargon and sector-specific terminology without realizing it. We can get so caught up in our day to day that we forget what these terms mean to us, our work, and the people for whom we are working to create meaningful change.
The focus of this month’s newsletter is systems change, reflecting specifically on what that means to us and how we integrate that perspective in all our work. Systems change means that, instead of creating a new program or policy, we look at how all the elements of a system are connected and then find leverage points that can help shift parts of the system in a sustained, coordinated way over time. This sounds like a heavy lift, and it is. Systems change does not happen overnight and it can be easy to get discouraged along the way. But, we can also identify and achieve small wins that move us closer to that bigger goal, we can learn along the way and use that learning to adjust our strategies, and we can engage new voices that not only help strengthen the process, they can lead to better outcomes. We have some great resources in this newsletter, including three blogs that look specifically at the idea of systems change, including exploring some tools and techniques to help reach our goals. Read more.