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Stories of Change: Iceberg Model

The second film in our Stories of Change series featuring the Iceberg Model: The Civil Rights Movement

Showing us how different parts of a system interact and influence one another

The Iceberg Model, typically used in systems diagnosis, can help us explore blindspots, question assumptions and challenge mental models underneath pivotal events, such as Rosa Park's arrest in 1955 in the Civil Rights Movement. Only 10% of an Iceberg’s total mass can be seen above water—the remaining 90% exists below the waterline. As a society, the majority see and respond to events, happening at the tip of the iceberg.

The film

Why frameworks and stories for systems change?

We use frameworks as part of systems change practice because they help us navigate complexity. Humans are visual beings, and we like structure. We are able to understand great levels of complexity, patterns and interconnectedness in this way.

Frameworks allow us to scan a situation, bring some things to the foreground and let others slip away. To move beyond the need to know or see everything and start seeing the patterns of things that matter for the work we’re trying to do.

There are multiple frameworks in the field of systems change across the world. We’ve started to curate some of them into a series of multimedia resources we’re calling Stories of Change, hoping to make them more accessible to people working towards a sustainable future all over the world.

The resources

The aim of this project is to create accessible resources to co-learn and help change agents to design more systemic strategies and action. This project supports system change facilitators to introduce systemic frameworks using stories of change in history to a wider audience.

Iceberg Facilitator Pack

This facilitator pack gives readers tools, worksheets and additional resources to host a session on the Iceberg Model.

Download Faciliator Pack

Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded in 2020 with Danielle McGuire, Adjunct Associate Professor, Wayne State University.

Watch Webinar

Special thanks to:

Garfield Foundation, Lankelly Chase Foundation, Danielle McGuire and Glider.

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