A 5-week journey igniting systems change through an intensive dive into leadership, facilitation and practice.

5 weeks


Select session
Autumn 2024
Spring 2024
Takes 25-30 mins
Applications have closed

Why Spark?

Leading change initiatives often sees us working against the tide, feeling isolated and confronted with the politics of collaborative working. It takes strength to hold a vision, more to share it with others. Even sharper is the awareness we need to have of ourselves to lead with integrity in the face of challenge. 

Find community in Spark, a leadership and facilitation course for people guiding others through change processes. Shine a light on your personal edge, deep dive into group dynamics and engage with new ways to design. 

"People need guidance - from facilitators and coaches - to shift to collective and adaptive ways of working for transformative change."

Scott Hinkle, Basecamp & Spark alum

Senior Consultant, Systems Change & Project Management, Wasafiri

What you’ll learn

Spark is a five-week course designed around intensive bursts of framing and facilitated practice in a cohort, whilst supporting you to apply your learning to your live projects through individual coaching. We will explore group dynamics and energies, power, process design, leadership and understanding your self as an instrument for change. You will go back out into the world accompanied by a new network of peers.

A systems view of facilitation and leadership embraces the fact that engaging people in change means looking to embrace uncertainty, work in relationship with others and pay attention to process. Spark has been designed with this worldview in mind, nurturing you to deepen your practice through a combination of inner work, relational work and adaptive design techniques. As a co-learner, you will be invited to experiment and take what makes sense for your in your own context, projects and areas of application.

"I learned some really valuable new thinking/ideas/frameworks that I will bring into my work. I was exposed to ways of working online that I will attempt to emulate."

Spark alum

"What I appreciate most is the ability to bring the systems change practices & habits in my own work and feeling more confident that my outlook is more systemic than it used to be."

Spark alum

Learning Outcomes

Through this course, you will:

  • Build your self-awareness and personal leadership capacity 
  • Support yourself working with group dynamics including perspective taking and polarities 
  • Nurture your confidence in bringing a systemic approach to facilitate transformational change in your practice 

How we host

At the School, we believe there is no one “right” way of doing systems change work, and embrace both multiple methodologies and multiple ways of learning. In Spark, we host you through a combination of participatory online workshops, personal reflective exercises, peer learning groups and individual coaching with one of our facilitation team. You will also be asked to take your learning away and apply it to your work, with our support. 

"I have more confidence around my vision of self as a systems change facilitator."

Spark Americas alum

"I have connected with a new constellation of ideas and people that will continue to grow."

Spark alum


Lisa Gibson

Facilitator, Coach, Systems Change Consultant

Lisa Gibson is a transformative coach, facilitator and systems change consultant. With ...

Read more

Payam Yuce Isik

Facilitator and Coach at Tribe - Dialogue Change Leadership
Facilitator, Contributor

Payam is an executive and team coach and a facilitator. Her work focuses on creating di...

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Clara Hesseler

Team Assistant at the School of System Change / Forum for the Future

In the past 5 years, Clara (she/her) has been strongly involved in climate activism and...

Read more

Supporting producer: Mairi Lowe


Is Spark for me?

Spark will work well for you if:

  • You have a foundational understanding of systems change, having learned about and used at least some tools in practice
  • You have some previous group facilitation experience whether through learning offers, workshops or collaborative projects
  • You are looking for an opportunity to apply the skills you are learning from this course in a practical setting

This is not a course that will introduce you to systems frameworks and tools that support diagnosis and strategy development for systems change; if you are looking for this kind of training, check out our Delta course for a short introduction, or our Basecamp course for a longer learning journey.

Who else will be on the course?

Mirroring system change principles in our cohort, we aim for a group of around 15-20 people, representing:

  • A wide diversity of worldviews, lived experience, and perspectives
  • A range of professional contexts - including business, non-profit, government, philanthropy, and other enablers of change
  • A variety of complex challenges in sustainability and social change

"From my experience, the unsung heroes of successful systems initiatives are capable and compassionate facilitators ... Spark allowed me to sharpen my facilitation practice and develop a facilitation guide for our systems change work with the Reach Children’s Hub in Feltham."

Scott Hinkle, Basecamp & Spark alum

Senior Consultant, Systems Change & Project Management, Wasafiri

Scott Hinkle completed our Basecamp and Spark programmes in 2021. In From War Zones to Children’s Hubs: Insights and Advice from my Systems Journey, he shares insights and advice from entering the world of complexity to his current focus, including embodying systems change as an internal practice and three practical facilitation ideas nurtured through Spark.

Read more

Equity & Diversity

We seek to create safe and brave spaces for participants from different backgrounds and lived experience to engage in learning together. We acknowledge the power and responsibility we hold in our role as a convenor and learning provider, placing multiple ways of knowing and awareness of difference as fundamental design principles in our programmes.

Read more about our commitment and journey around equity and difference here.

Accessibility needs

If you anticipate requiring additional support for your wellbeing, learning or access needs during the course, then please let the team know as soon as possible, so we can factor this into our session design. You can let us know in the application form or email us at [email protected]. We are happy to arrange a call to discuss how we can support your learning. The course producer will also be on hand throughout the course if you have any questions or concerns to raise. 

Date and time

Course dates

  • Course kick-off: 17, 18 & 19 April 2024 (3 sessions)
  • 1:1 coaching period between kick-off and closing sessions
  • Closing sessions: 15 & 16 May 2024 (2 sessions)


Each session will be 4 hours (with breaks) held: 09:00-13:00 ET / 14:00-18:00 BST / 15:00-19:00 CEST.

You can join Spark from anywhere in the world, so long as you can attend the dates and times listed above.

Check your time zone

Time commitment between sessions

We typically recommend around 3-4 hours per week between sessions. Please note that this includes your individual coaching sessions, as well as the time you spend taking the content into your work or even mulling it over in the shower! We give this estimation as a rough guide so you know what to expect - this is very much a “the more you put in, the more you get out” situation. 

Course Fees

The School of System Change is continually working to improve the financial accessibility of our courses. For this course we offer three rates, and ask that you select the one that fits your financial situation. It is our hope that those able to afford the higher fees help us cover costs and support others to access the discounted rates.

Full Rate: £1900 GBP / €2200 EUR / $2400 USD
For people in countries with strong economies, larger organisations and well-paid professionals. Your registration will support others to participate. This rate reflects the true cost of the course.

Mid-Rate: £1350 GBP / €1580 EUR / $1750 USD
For people in countries with moderate economies, small organisations (fewer than 10 employees) and individuals.

Discounted Rate: £950 GBP / €1100 EUR / $1200 USD
For people in need of financial assistance to support their learning. Only a few discounted rate slots are allocated to each cohort.

VAT does not apply to the fees above.

Info Sessions

Please join the Spark team for a 50-minute information session:

  • Tue 27 February 2024, 08:00 PT / 11:00 ET / 16:00 GMT / 17:00 CET
  • Tue 19 March 2024, 10:00 PT / 13:00 ET / 17:00 GMT / 18:00 CET
Register here


Complete our application form by Wednesday 27 March 2024 at 17:00 GMT. It usually takes about 25-30 minutes. You can save your progress as you go and will be emailed a copy of your answers at the end.

Apply today

Contact Us

Are you interested in speaking with one of our team to answer any specific questions you may have? Please shoot us an email at [email protected]. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Email us
Takes 25-30 mins