As we hurtle towards a human community of 9.7 billion people by the year 2050, coupled with new technologies and the growing challenges of our planet’s carrying capacity, there is more and more discussion of systems and how they change or are created. The post-war era has witnessed an unprecedented growth of global, national and regional systems but systemic challenges like climate change and inequality are undermining the viability and resilience of our 20th century systems.
It’s against this backdrop that a movement is starting to gain traction. A community of practitioners trying to shift incumbent systems no longer fit for purpose and build new ones that work for our current reality.
But this field is nascent and largely unsupported. In this publication, we have created two maps designed to shine a light on the work of this group of pioneers. We offer these with the hypothesis that the field will be better able to organize itself if it can see itself more clearly. Our theory of change? A clearer picture leads to greater connectivity, connectivity leads to stronger networks, and accelerates the best initiatives we so badly need if we are to effectively shift systems.
About the Authors
Rachel Sinha is a British award-winning social innovator. One of four co-founders of The Finance Innovation Lab, named by the Guardian newspaper as one of 50 Radicals- ‘changing the face of the UK for the better’, she built the Lab from an idea, to an independent fully funded not-for-profit. She is an established thought leader in the field of social innovation and systems change and has co-written book on social Labs (Labcraft), written for publications including HBR and Fast Company, documented the work of systems leaders with Oxford University as well as written up her experiences of running a Lab in A Strategy for Systems Change. Find out more.
Tim Draimin is the Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) a partnership founded by The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District, the University of Waterloo; and Vancouver’s PLAN Institute. SiG works to engage the creativity and resources of all sectors to collaborate on social innovations capable of solving Canada’s complex social and environmental challenges. As Executive Director, Tim supports SiG’s growing network of academics, practitioners, social entrepreneurs, allied institutions and partnerships in marshalling the knowledge and tools of social innovation for Canada’s innovation ecosystem. Find out more.