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A Talk with Rob Ricigliano—A Systems Approach to Social Change

A Talk with Rob Ricigliano—A Systems Approach to Social Change



okay always go good goodbye agencies networks well the defining reason but I did you know she was very different you know but and I liked her yeah surprise yeah your Washington how much I love okay I think we will get you started everybody so thank you all for coming I am qualifiers effective learning and we're thrilled that all of you could come and that we're able to livestream so every person to be here and the first thing I just want to thank Mercy Corps who is so nicely hosting us here and the very generous with their space work for us for many things that I think is actually particularly interesting in apt that Rob for your elf bearding to hear it speak he was involved so it's pretty so he was around here well I first encountered him when he was at the University of wisconsin-milwaukee where you were there for 15 years quite a bit of time on the time-space continuum so all these and he was sort of code directing the master of simple people think there and when I connected with him through a project I was working on the skyrockers to Quiana he's really the guru to a system sent that point I really didn't know it was like my white shirt thing is but anyways yes that's why you all are here I mean he really is a leader in this field and instantly booked on it and it's interesting that he is now for the last I guess six years boom with Mick you are right huh five-ish hired as their systems and complexity that's his name so that's a pretty interesting type so anyways it's obviously it is a very hot topic I'm CBS CB a have worked with him and use his work a lot in working conflict areas around the world and I think we're just lucky to be able to take it from him the idea is really to talk about the real-life application so we're gonna hear about that he has long CD he was a founding member of the board of the Alliance for peace building he's worked with lots of governments US government foundations NGOs etc so we're really lucky to have him but before I turn it over to him I just want to sort of recognize quickly the CDA people were in the room so anybody staff board if you could just sort of wave your hands I want to notice particularly let's given to has been on the board for many years and assembly leaving the board so we're very happy she's here and very sad she's leaving and to recognize both Ruth Allen and Neil Levine who are the new chair and vice chair of the board of CDA which we are thrilled about bringing a lot of new energy which is fabulous so thanks to them and we've got a number of staff who will be around I think to hang around a bit afterwards so please do say we do have wine and cheese and snacks that's there so I'm gonna turn it over to you so thanks again we're thrilled that you could do this yeah it is really good it is kind of about homecoming yeah for me to be around I just walk around harvest birth I mean let's say they send me pictures of my life can you believe Charlie's kitchen is still here so I'll jump into this and I'll talk I'll say a little bit about the history that probably refers to I have a very temperamental thing this sort of decides when I want to work what's working what doesn't yeah so it's been a bit of a journey I started with the proper negotiation project back in the late 80s and then helped to found a battery group and then with Roger Fisher supporters over there we searched for a permanent home for CMP and eventually found this house it's interesting being on a negotiating team of two people one of whom is Roger Fisher so basically you're in the situation where if we do well everybody can be like well this project if you don't do well and be like but he was working with Ron so so but we did okay we did okay with this and I spend many years in this house including fixing there's a leaky pipe in the basement I remember being up on a ladder holding a fight so I in 2000 made the transition from CMG moved to Milwaukee where my wife is from Wisconsin we've raised our kids in Wisconsin and on way I happened into the position of university Wisconsin Milwaukee still did a lot of consulting work with Liz and other other folks most of the negotiation world but there was this question that kept kept haunting me so basically now that I was an academic and I hold like Iroquois don't do the justice to have not academic I kept asking myself why even when what we did we were CMG or the negotiation project even when what we did worked it didn't work right so even when we helped mediate an agreement that led to a peace agreement those countries actually worked in peace like a decade or more after that so I it was kind of you know so great to say well you know it was really hard to get where I was and I realized where I am is not so good at doing this work as I thought more about this though it's what led me down a different path that's what led me down the sewer systems and complexity path and I wanted the I remember one of Rogers great virtues was that he was really good at taking lots of bits of a really helpful advice but boiling it down into something really memorable and pithy and so we have the seven elements of negotiation which was like all of negotiation into seven the key concepts and I wanted to know who wrote the book of how to apply systems to the peace building like I once probably seven elements I'll take three elements I'll take four elements and there really wasn't that and that's what I'm actually led to the book that I wrote along the way funny thing happened came over from a business trip in December 2012 probably working with triad or CMP and my wife tells me that sometime from eBay called and I said well for you right because I don't have any baby how do you see a bit great she said oh no he works for the founder of eBay I was like okay I'll return that call and I turned the calls Mandy Mike Moore who working with peer impound Omidyar for for many years and Mike had read something I've written actually something was a chapter in my book that was he was a Polish jet and he worked for an internet entrepreneur I didn't ask him like how but he basically said I think we need what you do and I said well what do you need what do you think that I do and he actually had thought this out and he was pretty much right on and the the question was how do we actually grapple with these big complex social challenges that the mid years really want to make a difference on and they have they don't have all you know the resources of the gates family but they have a significant amount of resources they want to see a deeper level of impact for those resources so then that's where that questions were went into hyperdrive but the that where does this initially took me was basically to this starting to realize the difference between two distinct types of challenges so if you look at the two lists the question is how are the problems on list one different from the problems on the list too and just to throw it in here I will put in the piecework so how are the two while the first one is an immediate intervention right yeah so this is this is more short-term we it's a need and we can fill it now and we can actually probably tell if we filter it the rest this is much more much much longer-term yeah yeah we kind of know did we get an agreement or not do we have an election or not yeah so definitely a lot part of the vision there's a lot of implications of that in terms of like how do we give money how do we structure and we judge success of organizations so that right we're the two worlds as you start to realize the difference here and the difference here they just they start to actually look different so no one have the like the seven elements of applying system it's a peace building but back in the 60s a man named Karl Popper who me you know made this observation about there are two types of problems clock problems in cloud problems this one of the clock problems was to with the cloud problems and so basically clock problems are mechanical finite predictable controllable you know we can we can if it worked once well most likely work the same way a second time formed in one place don't probably work with some bit of modification in a second place climbing problems are just the opposite they're infinite like we talked about health right health is not a solvable problem you do have short term health need you could have a fever or high blood pressure and you treat those things which are fairly clock like terms of treating them but being healthy is an infinite issue you were always have to worry about your health you know if you are healthy one day you get your wait there's nothing that keeps you locked in at that weight for the rest of your life right so your oh it's an infinite it's an always tech problem it's ever-changing unpredictable I guess I couldn't pretty good I've lost a lot of my care of it there are other things about my health which are unpredictable right like my knees started popping out of joint the other day I have no reason and it's oftentimes hard to control so certain things about my health I can control and others that are very difficult for me to get a handle on so this gap manifests itself because the things that we care about the big causes that we care about tend to be cloud one right there list two concerns the means tend to be list one means they tend to be clock-like means it's how we budget it's how certain international development organizations who I will not know how they would structure contracts so we tend to be skilled here and also just it's what we're skill that's what we know about planning we know how to measure things in MacLachlan realm but the problem is is that clock means don't actually address cloud problems in fact can be counterproductive and often are counterproductive so that's where the that's what this retention is pain point comes out so that one of the things that we need to do to be effective in the cloud world are things that take longer and they take more resources boil over one of the implications in one of our organizations if a sporting event might occur humanity netted one of the organizations that are part of the major group that I work with their typical project team when I started was about one-and-a-half FTE spread out over four or five people now same budget type of team is probably four or five people spread out over maybe five or six people in the foundation world that's a that's in the clock foundation world that means your overhead just skyrocketed that's a bad thing from the social impact world from the cloud world that was a very good thing but it's difficult to do that it's if these are all things that the current system is basically designed to not let you do I even taught that a couple years ago at the stockholm farm on peace building and development and I was talking about adaptive programming and I listed all the things you needed to do and why not the program is a good you know approach and then said the end of it of course you realize you can't do any of these things like most donors most NGOs are not set up to do this and that's where the Oh this is sort of therapy for me I want to not that anybody's ever said into these things to me in our organizations but yeah so people will say it's also not as I just did not just grates against the way the system is said it grates away most of us are set up so people are like what the hell is taking so long work oh I need to make grants I want to see my my impact metrics for this year I was doing quite fine not being systems II thank you so that's where the the my amid your experience kind of really picked up and so in 2014 we really began in earnest to take a very structured approach at bringing systems and complexity into their programs we actually started with a couple pilot projects in 2013 and after we finished those I would have if I were celebrating and I probably have two toughest self greater I wouldn't give him myself a best to see on those two projects and Mike Moore who was my contact who brought me in whose bright idea was to bring me in in the first place I was like you know Michaels gonna say he's a magnet one of the nicest men you'll ever meet he said I figured he's gonna say hey you know and and Mike so Mike watched how I was engaging with the teams and he wasn't judging whether how this project went spied by the outcomes because I woulda said the outcomes were kind of mediocre at best he was judging by how disruptive it was to their practices and the organizations that I was working with which is much more than can ever expect a client whatever you know be watching for it so Mike at the end he said I want to buy all their consulting time next year and I was like I probably misheard that whole thing right now and so I went in halftime starting in 2014 and came in full-time in 2015 and the group is bigger than these organizations but these are the ones that I primarily work with that new range of topics work domestically and internationally and so what I want to do is come in sort of fast forward over the last four and a half years and give you a couple examples of what it actually looks like to do this I also have a little bit of warning I have a magnetic side let me this is a this is a video that is kind of overview of our process and it came because it can't end up producing it because back in in early 2014 I had a meeting with Pierre and Mike and I presented Pierre the approach and it was really good and Pierce at through it ask you some question and but his first real question was said didn't you forget slide one and I said literally I'm thinking to myself and I said no no he said you what you talk about how to do it what you didn't say was why we should do it and so then it took about a year and a half actually top story so let me see they detest this by the way so I'm gonna try one more time to make your sound up here anyway so we'll skip the video if we get the sound back the problems that make you see my chords in my speakers to me the only way so you can hear it now but you can't see so work on that and and also I've got I'm gonna make the most of these slides available to you and the links to those videos there's video in another video in that it's a great video there are times when we encounter loss you feel like the movie Groundhog Day when despite our solutions we see the same problems over and over again when you solve one problem another pops up somewhere else like a game of laughable most confusing moments when we can find ourselves an opposite day we're solutions somehow making things even worse it's what some Fleming's found when they tried to increase donations by paying donors but they found that this actually demotivated altruistic people which led to fewer donations overall or take homelessness people afford resources and funding shelters to address homelessness but in many large cities this didn't reduce the overall number of people attending up on the streets the question is why it's because shelters were never meant to provide a path to sustainable living and because job training programs can't make a dent if there are no economic opportunities they build one program and address the underlying challenges these factors are all interconnected and interwove em this is the true representation of reality but it's infusing frustrating and messy to know what to do so we've challenged ourselves to add to our toolkit we believe that systems thinking and health systems thinking is a mindset a collection of tools and processes for engaging with our messy world system thinking helps us gain clarity that making sense and complexin vironment and understanding the interconnections helps us find leverage and reveal points in a system where modest actions of the potential for significant impact it helps us adapt so we can engage with constantly changing environments and see the ripple effects of our actions within the broader context of the get them together Systems thinking helps us to being clarity about a complex problem in order to find leverage so we make new strategic lis with confidence when we see the effects of our actions on the system we learn to adapt in these lessons fuel a virtuous cycle we've looked for examples where system thinking was making a difference in County County Michigan service providers decided to tackle the issue of homelessness but they realized when they looked at the whole system that funders and providers were actually incentivized to choose quick fixes usually loses his name change shifting that pattern wasn't easy that systems mapping help them see where they can intervene change how the system behave and the increase money for higher leverage approaches like housing first this help decrease homeless numbers in Howard County despite the fact that unemployment was going on our approach here at the Emidio group is constantly evolving to incorporate insights from many fields we believe this kind of systems thinking is a powerful addition to our toolkit we look forward to partnering with you and learning together as we pursue the enduring change we want to see in the world so that was what we ended up that was the process that we developed and through lots and lots of iterations so we literally were working with teams one week and then we would bring the insights for that one to the team then next week and then we get back to that team three months earlier and they say what why can't you just keep something the same and we'd say it's better now it's better so let me walk through we need to get kind of flyover of the process real quick and then I want to give you a concrete example of a recent team and they report to the board on their works it kind of really illustrates the process in action and and it was it's a profit for our project that is a couple years down almost three years down the road so even though year to year it's sometimes hard to sort of have big splashy indicators these guys did which was which is really really I think impressive so again that's the the basic journey which you sort of rinse and repeat keep going around that cycle terms are what it looks like we do a lot of we call system sensing so we have different processes which sometimes are very participative sometimes take days or weeks sometimes take months to actually understand what's going on in the system what's enabling the change you want and and hitting the change in want to take a very inductive approach to really then think about what are these key forces and you're constantly building lots of data damage to things down to eventually pattern we find patterns in the system that motivate and keep the system moving as it's moving that results in ultimately something like a map not every initiative doesn't map ones that are wrestling with the big complex problems do need Maps and calling them Maps is kind of a misnomer because it's not a map really Bangla and it's a mental model it's a way of storing information lots of diverse bits of information visually and showing how those bits of information relate to each other that's the map as I said in the video we then look for opportunities to find leverage and so this is an example of a product of a leveraged analysis exercise so we take a map these different colored posts are different indicators of where there is or is not leverage in your system so we have a series of indicators of where that might be you then sort of look at where like the blue ones are the ones that are frozen so that that's not leverage the other ones are different indicators of possible leverage so you want to take an area here and start to devour all hypotheses so it's like what what I can actually do here to take advantage of that opportunity for the other two what is the opportunity and how would you take advantage of it you then go through a process of winnowing that down not just a thing do you think I'm the most impactful but the ones that should actually do that should fit your organization and that becomes you can then take that same map and you basically put your strategy on the map so this strategy is sort of three-pronged this is actually you probably know this I'm just looking at it but is slavery incorporate supply chains and so basically there's there was one said that I obviously wanted to work on that affected investors because they want to incent investors to actually rate risk in supply chains as an investment risk the change behavior of corporations it goes to strategic journalism so they had they've done a lot of work with the Guardian to report on abuses in in supply chains which sort of sent shockwaves at times not always positive but simply sent shockwaves for the system and then work in country with various local actors and then after you know on a periodic basis every month every 18 months I mean every year every 18 months the team will do an in-depth reflection back with their executive or with their board and say this is their map this is their updating their back so there are four key changes they made to their map basically that's a that's a way of saying you learned about your context by engaging with your context and it changed how they understood it it expanded it in some places have changed in some places so these are there are four key areas that they ended up changing their map after their first year this is just I want you to read this this is the line when you look at witches they basically say you can take the map and you can say what are the key assumptions built into that hat what did you learn about those key assumptions they're testing the assumptions and what implications for strategy today and then it meets the sort of the the next version of this which is an updated strategy so it's the same Matt it's the same strategy but updated so two key updates they made to the strategy based on that first year of learning and experience so that's that's like clarity eventually produces the understanding of the system built a systemic strategy for have changed the system right affect the system and then help them capture the learning both about the system and how to engage it with a value of the map is actually in this last it's how does it help you learn and adapt as you go forward and so you're not there's a tendency to be like to adapt but it's sort of like adapting with a DD like you're just there all over the place like how do you know your adaptations are getting you toward any kind of long-term goal and that's what given mid Darcy fundamentally were picking up on because they're initiative producing lots of good things but when you put the good things together they didn't actually go anywhere like they were good in and of themselves but they wanted more and that's what that's what we're hoping this view helps you get any questions about the general overview I want to give you next is another further down the road team that actually has some all right so one last thing just something about Maps his teams have also used them as a way of facilitating collective action so this understanding of the system has influenced the behavior of other actors and other donors in the system so especially with a team that were some local media and their map has influenced the behavior of scripts foundation night and other big donors in that space so it's a way of also facilitating kind of collective action and collective learning which takes the takes whatever one team can do and magnifies it right so here's the here's an example that comes it's also in a related sector this is a initiative that's working on us bonded forced labor in the Thai seafood market Thai secret industry so the map at one levels this is their overall problem statement gentleman they want to go into but it's an effective tool for explaining the problem as well but this is where that starts to get interesting so this was their basic strategy they had three prongs of their strategy three opportunities for leverage that they saw in their map the way we the way we build these theories of change the sort of systemic theories of change is you have to spread them out over time and space so this initial set of activities is aimed at affecting specific parts of the system so they're looking at the influencing the behavior of government and the capacity of government to enforce regulation they're looking at civil society voice and they're looking at again it sort of like a detection of abuse in the system so this was the first early agenda the first three years were devoted toward these activities to get to these outcomes which are changing specific parts in that map so things specific parts of that system the reason you do that is this sort of second phase of developing stage initiative where you're basically looking for evidence that the outcomes you got in this first stage our affecting deeper dynamics in the system so it's not just you know we're something in a law being passed or a civil society group being launched it's also saying but those things actually started to impact dynamics around accountability in the system which was one of the one of the drivers of forced labor and the lack of remedy in the system longer term it's looking for evidence that the dynamic change has shifted the system evidence that the system sort of shifted on a resilient sustainable basis but you can only show over time it takes time to actually make this case so what do you say about this team is that they this is an earlier this year so early 2018 they're reporting to the board they're basically saying we we got this I mean it's actually we were kind of ahead of schedule almost in terms of the impact we wanted to see in the system and we're also seeing evidence that deeper dynamics are changing so on the civil society voice question there was a notice that was a very little civil society voice when they start very civil society organizations so they invested in sort of catalyzing into organizations what ended up happening was that they took off and they they also then linked up with the they were trying to get government to increase resources devoted to enforcement that also survived and so after in like there'd been 2017 they began to see movement and the civil society of the government level Oh proportionately much greater than what they saw in their first year and not because they were spending more money but because the system started replicated the impacts that they wanted to have which is an evidence that the dynamics themselves are changing so that's what this that's what this category was again much too small for you to see but this is how they sort of lay that out here's their impact summary here's what they're basically saying we had impacts in the system there's the evidence to say we got the outcomes we're trying to get they then went through and sort of dynamic Biden a dynamic it started and ban to say in this next phase we think this is the change that's happening in the dynamic and we have to now support this change it's it's a subtle but really important distinction between affecting something here like an actor since when you're passing a policy you're I'm gravitating for a policy versus this overall dynamic actually like strengthening enforcement or accountability that might be the dynamic you're trying to strengthen that's a different set of measures to know whether you did that we can measure whether we got the policy or not because we had we don't have it whether it's actually resulting in higher levels of accountability is a different metric or a different set of metrics so what they're proposing now is that they have to change their tactics so it's less about just sir you know it's hand-making they're supporting individual civil society organizations or policies it's actually getting behind the actors already in the system and it's sort of putting more wind in their sails so that they basically went through and sort of dynamic by dynamic these are the three key dynamics they are hoping to affect in this sort of developing stage and if they're now saying now for the next again three-year we're kind of working through your envelopes this is where we think we can get to within in three years now of course we don't know this is where you have to be open to lots of change that's the basic sense so this is what was it for me as a sort of systems a geeky guy I was really happy when this team was been proposed they should go from an early stage for developing stage I was even happier when they said it for the right reasons everything about this just the way we try to work is I my team didn't do this like none of this we produce we coached them on the production of the additional map and and help them find you know do the leverage analysis and got them into the strategy discussion but we didn't even have much in our fingerprints weren't very heavily on that and really on very little of this and so that's the other piece about this it's got to be something that teams do they can't pay me to do it and that's what's been kind of for me the real proof of the pudding is that they can do it on their own and it's it's something that that makes sense to them and it makes sense to their partners and their so they also disturbed this is a repeat up that's earlier slide I showed which basically said here's the new set of assumptions here's what leverage points they they relate to here's why we're making those assumptions and here's how we're going to test those assumptions so that's that's again just continuing the cycle right so this is as they get into the next stage they have to redefine all this stuff and that's what they're putting in front of the board in there exactly that's how they'll be held accountable within the organization I mean who are the partners doing this with you yes right you're driving it maybe by giving training but to whom like so like partners from the Thai seafood team or to mine yeah so it's been it's been a real interesting bit of organizational change or different ethos which is maybe so Mike Moore brought me the really initially would say you shouldn't be capital focused they should be capital enabled so capital focus means they were focused on giving grants and so they basically thought their lever to get anything like to any of their goals was basically about grants and it was about the volume of grants and how fast this stage is no not about that they're basically saying it's not just about giving out money is we need partners so they what the shift has been is the the size of their so there so whether something goes money was out informed grants or contract or staff is that's not the issue and it's what that means is that they have to invest much more time in partnerships they have to have a bigger staff because they meet people on the ground you know supporting and developing those partnerships this is not this is more like what I guess an operating foundation might look like but we're not really an operating set of foundations neither they still do brands so it's basically cultivating those partners it's I'm looking for also partners at international level of policy and other so then we do a lot of work with the freedompop examples are who are the operational partners and how would they you know how is it all yeah so they like one of their grants would be for let's say symbols yeah civil society organization in Thailand actually train and equip other civil side words I'd only the name of an organization but they would go about looking for those people and funding them too and as long as what they want to do was and find those folks to do it so that they're not hand making a lot of stuff on the ground there they were giving grants or contracts to people sort of has to be a master puppeteer to have the system the right part of the system at the right moment and how is that carried out is it is there like a yeah I can't project officer for each of those sectors or it's much luckier than that so it adds a lot to the to the emergent aspect of how you have to do this so one of the one of the pieces that's very difficult is it's putting a lot of your control taking off the control out of your hands so it means you really relying on local actors to do it and that's kind of the first step because I think if they can't I mean you're basically making a hypothesis that there are people in country that there are society groups that woody verge in country if given the right kind of support that's not true it doesn't happen so a lot of what so that the other through mantra that we have internally that systems change investment systems change themselves and so you have to kind of let your taking this kind of indirect role from the start and so it gets up they can get a lot sloppier you know we have a we have a team between some work that's been spinning their wheels for a year and a half with each other we're jealous so it means that kind of stuff happens right so from from a poor thing the board again is thinking well as long as you know we were on the same page as to what they're trying to do we understand about the split if you may if you're slippage is because you made some really stupid decisions that's not good if it's because this has just been really difficult to do and is we know it's going to take you to three years of test this hypothesis to begin with which is also not normal for a funder to do this is why I should present this earlier I'm very thankful that any verify the organization but what the good news is I think it is changing so I'm actually doing a presentation on Friday innovations international plan for the conference and it's a big group and so there are a lot of folks in the film product world who are saying they're paying more attention to this more willing to think about doing this well yeah I mean I think so so people he definitely fits the definition of the of a cloud you know type problem and I think one thing again I mean all the things that that that have applied to a lot of the the Thai seafood world which is that arguably this is a more confined system humanity maybe that actually has a transforming peacebuilding program to two years so it is Messier but it's highly important because it what we've done a bit of sort of meta analysis this or a peacebuilding system if you will and one of the disheartening we've actually been a part of I've been part two of two such efforts within Omidyar and what's kind of disheartening is that both maps kind of came done by different teams at different times came to the conclusion that we were disempowering the very people we needed to empower if we ran after them how sustainable outcomes and and they're a bunch of dynamics that sort of account for that but it's a it's a heartbreaking piece for me because I was part of those dynamics right I was doing that stuff and it's not people doing those these aren't evil people they're not bad or stupid people just the way the system is set on we have such hurdles to getting what we want to get done done and they're kind of outcomes that they want to get and so that just even a lift even that that bit of stepping back and looking at the system there's a one of our programs works on democracy found works on effectiveness in Congress they're new they're gonna spend their wheels the when the when major doing their math they when they had a kind of we'd call it socializing a map so you take your map out and you you notice how you can show them people to map but you tell them the story of what's there right the map is a story and they were at a congressional office and this was a senior you know hand in Congress have been Congress a long time he look you heard their presentation looked at the map and he said the maps freed me from black rat he said I no longer have to blame the other side of the I are so hyper partisan and dysfunctional this is the maze we're all trapped in so car getting out of the maze is realizing you're in a magazine and and so I think that's especially relevant in a lot of people to context what we're trying to do is create that that superordinate interest amongst people a lot of times having people in conflict see what they do as being the product of the system yes there's an ability been to individual agency but can be needs to be accountability for human rights abuses and that will take care of part of the picture but if you don't have an idea of what the bigger picture looks like it's hard to know how to use all the different tools that we know are effective in peaceful and so every Marla that's kind of the overall at least that was what made was the insight for me looking back at my career and where I think what we did work didn't work it didn't work I could help me answer the question of why even when what we did work it didn't work didn't get the full piece so I think that's the essential bit of it anytime big complex hairy problem and the peacebuilding ones are the hairiest it's essential to have that part right that we can step back and see the system that we're all working and we as intervenors often thinks we're not in the system we have to put ourself the system that's the reality and if we don't then we're not going to play it effective we may very well make things worse so I don't play the same role that a combatant does or community leader does but if I'm engaging in that I'm in the system and the fact that I have money on the donor or from an NGO gives me disproportionate role in that system so understanding that this is huge so it takes it takes up a lot of different forms so we have to have a process where you get people to actually scope out what their process is based on what their goals so at one end of the spectrum we had a team it was there a new team working on financial inclusion in the United States that was their their area and they basically said we're not ready to take not even for the off-broadway that's right so we're gonna come you want to do something internal before we bring a lot of people we had other teams a team that recently did work on team mental well-being and they've been in that space lab they've been in that space on and off for years so they did their initial mapping session they brought together 50 people academics health care providers sort of mixed group not teens who were struggling with mental health issues but that was an intentional because they had they built a different process for that group because it was very hard it I thought the dynamics would be untenable to bring them all so that one was what there's one word so in both of those though the basic process is similar so we we start by getting people to define what we call a guiding star and that's your that's our mission state so actually I have an example of one so when you do systems work you know you're gonna have to change an adapt the way to keep yourself from getting lost or being toured willy-nilly that move is to think first about what's what's the ultimate what your reason we're getting up in the world why are you even doing this and this is a state a future state of the system it's not it's not you're not going to initially even get there in this case it was a project working on well-being and they may be they are live in Hawaii so we do a lot of work and so they're white where residents are truly empowered to maintain and advance their well-being regardless of their socioeconomic status that was the lofty goal that made it worth getting up and doing this project the near star is as a basically a 10-year outcome so this one is measurable it is achievable or at least it's meant to be but you want to give it a decade jump all that her up talks about decade thinking so I stole that from he works for many many now so that's a good design family so so this is this is an outcome that we want to get to and so there's it was proven and widely acceptable models of decision-making on complex issues that are responsive innovative and evidence-based if anybody's living why you know that's kind of not the way things are done and then the strategic intent is meant to be sort of a goal and a distinctive means or how you're going to start this is a sort of three year horizon so three years ten years always and this is going to cycle and change and agree to rate than this but this is also going to change as you as you get further down that road and clarify you might say hey we can get that in five years let's push that further out let's get more ambitious so the reason I'm going here is that you need to do this in order to then know what's the system you're trying to understand so oftentimes taking this the near star and build a framing question which is basically to say what are the forces that affect how decision making the quality of decision-making on complex issues appear so what's what are the what are the forces that affect the quality of decision-making on complex issues in Hawaii that's what we want to understand and we then say in one of these sessions let's say we've got 50 people here and we'll say what are the things that enable good decision-making on complex issues in Hawaii and one of the things that inhibit decisions and then there's a picture of people staring at a wall so we might typically have a wolf like us a room with like most of that wall and most of this wall would be anywhere is an inhibitor that's right so there'll be dozens and dozens of stuff on each wall we then group them into themes and they take this thematic groups and this one one of them was around there's a very 20-pound he would control most decision-making that was a that was a somatic cluster and then we take those somatic clusters and then break them down and something would call upstream downstream exercise but basically say every big name like that old way what are all the forces that produce the old boy network and when you have an old boy network what are all the things that that cause that effects and we get people have ways of getting people to think broadly about both of the causes and impacts and then that is like half weight or more traduction certainty find patterns because now you're connecting three things a cause and an impact and then they then say don't loose but create the feedback and so that that ends up building so that we kind of do that exercise in a day maybe you know five or six hours and usually people like don't like they bristle against giving it a lot of time and we're like we go over and people like so you'll end up with with this analysis where you start to see these patterns and then you the more you do this the more you sort of do that option deputy you dig into the themes so you might have you know a dozen or twenty themes on each wall enable engine inhibitors you don't do twenty upstream downstream those are forty rather once you start to dig in you start to see that everything that's in your upstream and your downstream nothing new is appear after you after you go through out of ten or so on each side you're not getting new stuff which basically means you kind of saturate at the space and then you you you then have a list of patterns and then again you might have sixty dynamics people have identified and then the wall and the team says what are the patterns amongst the patterns would you consolidate that rich and group them is there a meta pattern and that we call that's what we call a deep structure which are one or more dynamics that really animates the system in the the slavery map I showed you the deep structure was they call it the race to the bottom it was about the incentives in the system for people at Ellering if not used slavery to cut cost America so that end up being the deep structure and then the map gets built around that and that's Carrie Carrie Delaney sitting back here is gonna do the process is that more or less Terry's a nerd because she thinks it was really fun now Perry is great and her team your team is great sorry yeah my name is so it is seems to me that we we keep working on the system that you know it's not working but we get working on it and and I don't want rate adjuster how you know you keep working on the system doesn't work like that you know system approach instead of not focusing on a human centered approach because you know the system doesn't work so that what we've seen in our in our work that is that people tend our teams tend to focus on three types of challenges and they're not exclusive exclusive so there's something so it's so part I could your partner you're saying is to say look you have a system it could take you know you might take a decade to shift part of the system whether people like hungry and dying and needy to day that for me is the sort of pain point Catholic there's a there is a legitimate intervention here to ease suffering of people today whether or not that shifts the system and so there are systems tools there are certain kinds of that will help you do this better do no harm analysis for example I would put as a systems approach using assistance tool to do this really well it's basically saying if we're gonna dump a bunch of food aid in the country to feed people today you probably should pick your head up a little bit and say well what is that doing to the economy and to the economy and so on so this is definitely so there'll be times when you have to do this so we have a democracy fund as well as other entities do work with journalists and they are trying to shift you know economies and business models and the media field and so on which is a long-term proposition after this 2016 election they moved quickly to establish a legal defense fund for journalists because they basically said we're not going to get any journalists to work with us on a long term stuff if you think they're worried about being prosecuted or killed today so we have to work on that pain point now and we're gonna do the other stuff right so so definitely that this is there the second level is what we refer to assist in systemic gaps so the the corporate supply chain one that I showed earlier there's a gap in the system that they're their analysis exposed to them which was that tools to that people that corporations can use to the texts labor in the supply chains take about three years on average from conception of that tool to deployment of that children that means that very few tools are actually ever going to be deployed and so they created that was that was an innovation sort of investment gap they created an investment fund to actually fund investment in tools to speed up that gap and to create more tools that companies could use and make them easier for companies that was a big gap in the system that was perpetuating slavery and then complex dynamics this is largely what I've been talking about is this is miss miss work here I take that up a bit so we call these things systems innovation and systems transformation so that the pain point work is just off-limits product or service delivery it's everything from relief a to a lot just you know funding Boys and Girls Club on a on an annual basis the innovation work is filling these gaps this this happens a longer timeframe than service delivery but not as long as transformation and this is altering the underlying system itself this is filling gaps in the system to make it work better and this is actually changing the underlying system so back to your question you you've got to think that you can't you can't always be focused here that our board our boards of our various organizations there and there's one of their big touchdowns is what is the highest and best use of resource and sometimes it's here sometimes it's here it's unless it's here sometimes it's the combination so we try not to have a sort of ideological view that only this is you know has merits all these have marital under the right circumstances and for the right reasons and given your organization yeah I think it's by the way I am just wondering now why you have to have a sort of them combined you know approach instead of just having one yes so people can people do like you can you can blend all three of these into into a strategy into an initiative so the police are teams so some are doing all three and so we're doing one of the other so innocent saying how do you engage local partners at the only local partners like what's at the grassroots yes because I think that's maybe them I mean from my perspective you yeah that can be more than the most important yeah so least from I'll say from a donor perspective is one of the tests that are used to give our teams early on is to say okay so if you stop funding where the impacter having going away or what it's dead and when they said it would probably go away we said okay let's go back to the joint and and that's where the sums idea of systems change investment systems change themselves there's a I would say it's more of the philosophical change that at least I'll speak for donors mostly for us as a donor is that hero based philanthropy is not good flammable so so that's where don't you know because people want us we want to show leave me a difference well that's actually counterproductive or can be certainly in a lot of cases and so your Donella Meadows who I draw a lot on who wrote a great book called thinking and systems foundational for lots of people in the field I love our expression which which is you have to be humble before the system and so it's not us that makes this change in the system and well guess we were part of it because we're in there we're not we're not doing the best we can do is help be a catalyst for those that are there and it's not just about providing money either look we we we work a lot with our teams to say you have multiple capitals you can report there's influencers building social networks there's one of our teams actually the first pilot team that we worked with also I'm gonna be humiliated the woman who runs the program was there their review was coming up after like 18 months and she was preparing with me on that she said a little nervous I said why she said well we're funded work were under spent on our grant budget and we're overspent on our personnel budget she said she's first she said we're having impact deeper and faster than we thought we were at this stage then she said she overspent on the personnel budget so tell me more she said well but it's interesting is that they have a she works in migrant labor in Nepal and so there's a member of her team mahendra who's a former migrant from the fall and she said what started to happen is that people of all these groups in Nepal except calling and he necessarily plan to do this we built this whole network and we're the impact we're getting is primarily being driven by that network but we're not doing any grandma and in fact we have to only hire someone else do the work that we really wanted mahendru to do so we overspent on our first but I said okay let me get this straight they're betting impact faster deeper than you thought I don't think the board cares the form the dollar goes out but what's interesting is that a traditional donor in that – from donor mine said she's thinking no success is like giving money away which takes the power out of the hands of the people in Mahendra was doing was actually activating people in the system by connecting them by giving them information in the system process and yeah so it's actually the secret sauce a lot of way it's like so what a lot of teams will when I start to reach out to their networks that they haven't been spending a lot of time with stakeholders we've done a lot of partnership building which is a bit of where we were at when I came in in 2014 because it seemed pretty small and they were primarily just getting grant away but as they began to you know get closer to the systems and build more of these partnerships they began to getting more local folks involved and they're thinking oh my gosh like this saved us this would have taken us three months to get this level of clarity that we got and like a couple weeks so then then it started feeding on who's a virtuous cycle where people like Samuel we should take the locus our system sensing work and have it in country or having with the lived affected population the I know this is the same we did the unite cast room we did the desk review and Washington we did in country and that one country would like totally beat the expert you know sort of like prediction by a lot so as teams began to do that they began to see how they're getting better information deeper finally earth and they're also building up their network their influence their social capital their influence capital by getting folks involved so there's both information tick and getting locals involved but the bigger uptick is in your deploying different kinds of capital building social capital you building trust the relationship networks you're building influence and and that's where people really start to see starting to see the game in terms of helping them get to where they wanted to go their goals the woman I mentioned Nepal when they basically this past year year and a half they activated their network they so the migrants were doing the systems mapping and so that's how things be replicated in other other spaces the hope lab team when they brought they started working with teens and then in the mapping with the teens totally rewrote the map they're going with the exploits so that's when you encourage now and your training yeah so we it it would have been so for me it was a great from that bridge too far over Julie because they just didn't have the capacity to do that but now that that's how teams work it's like they say I am Samantha Lake and thank you so much for coming on the VHD candidate at the saucer center for Holocaust and genocide studies super long name at Clark University I mostly works in Rwanda but I actually wanted to ask if it's okay if I make two quick kind of points because I had worked with Kylie and CDA on systems mapping approach to gender and corruption and the damashii which was my first time working with the systems that approach and I enjoyed it because my brain functions that way and so for me it was it was completely it was exhausting but it was also freeing right to be able to think of problems in terms of relationships and in terms of funding and systems as opposed to like you know the the clockwork with foxes he said but two things I wanted to mention that for me were really impactful one was that I went in to do the research I worked in justice sectors before I had not worked in Congo I mean I had a lot of skills that brought me to the job but the people there were actually experts on their own system and so when we went to ask the research questions we actually found out that people knew so much more about their own systems and what was happening in their own spaces and all we really have to do in some ways was document that put it into the map figure out where the leverage points were of break the pattern zones so the information was already there it kind of just needed to be harnessed and organized in a way that meant that there could be some impact and so that was really cool to realize that I didn't need to be an expert on you know or specialists words that I completely just like on like corruption in lieu bossy I had never been whatever the people there who had already been working on the issues and many wayne's had the information that we needed and it was really an amazing way to engage and part of what we did also was going back and validating our findings so after creating them happen and doing the loops and doing all leverage points and impact and where we decided what we wanted to strategically do we went back said this is right like is this a reflection of what wouldn't ask you and what we heard and so it was really nice way to engage on those levels but also the the pain points there was one point where we went into a prison and Liber abaci and people were legitimately saying well you know can you take my case and you have to look at someone and say I am NOT a lawyer in this country I I believe in research I believe in what's going to happen in the future and it's very painful to look at someone and be like actually there's not much I can do for you but give you maybe some money or whatever and refer your case on really there's not much and it's hard to explain that but I think the belief that you're talking about in the change that comes in a longer and longer term it's what kind of pushed me in that way yeah I think it's great it's a great issue to raise which is sort of more than all the ethics around data whose data is this who controls it and it's not as if I have some therapy you know like I'm doing and when you start to get into something personal about like your life and your country I mean whatever you want to call it their system you have to take the time to build a relationship first because there's otherwise it can be very extracted and exploitable not to mention that you might not they might not be completely honest with you to begin so so there's a lot of groundwork that has to go and that's one of the reasons why it's hard to sort of you can't jump start that process so like with the hope lab folks for example the the the teams that they work with are people that they had known they just like put a sign up in a psychiatrist office and say hey are you interested in my hunger story it was it was something that they had to handle that very carefully there were court ethical issues there and yeah because you can't control what someone's going to want and you don't want to be in that position to say like that stuff that that you can correct for or at least mitigate against by building that relationship now it was created what was great about the validation when sometimes we come back and doing actually that's completely not not there happening here and so we'd be like okay that that's not we thought we thought it was wonder day and people are telling us it's completely misrepresentation or it's not correct and it was really good to be able to be humble enough to be like okay well you were wrong I mean that meant a living space it was interesting because the stories there the patients and the stories are from the providers where sometimes different which ended up being its own dynamic which is that providers are not understanding but into the patients why is that why is that go around so it'll be around I just so thank you thank you all for coming just one last slide if you want to make a version was available okay but if you want to see that all the stuff that we produce the videos on the YouTube forgiveness but everybody's better camera

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

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