Back to projects

Visualising the Field of Systems Change

The Illuminate network set out to support the emergence of systems change practice by visualising the field with hopes to create stronger connections among people, organisations and resources, and to recognise the international field with equity at its core.

Recognising the international field of practice

We know that to achieve systems change there needs to be a high level of collaboration and coordination, access to valuable frameworks, processes and tools and practitioners from a wide range of lineages. However this field is fragmented, with few connections, and has a greater influence from people and practitioners from a white, western and academic culture. 

To tackle this, the Illuminate network set out to support the emergence of systems change practice by visualising the field with hopes to create stronger connections among people, organisations and resources, and to recognise the international field with equity at it’s core. As practitioners ourselves, we realised we needed to use our tools on ourselves to help us to see the wider whole. This project was initiated in 2020 with some initial questions like, as a small group of the larger whole building the field - who are the others? This project was led by the School of System Change, and designed by Eric Berlow - ecologist, complexity scientist and CEO of Vibrant Data Labs – a social impact data science group.

Our methodology

We set out to find publicly available profiles of people doing systems change field-building, to be able to identify these people, explore the words they are using to describe their work, and create a sense of affinities that could help us understand the practice of the evolving field.

We used a combination of manual and automated data collection, as well as collect systems terms, tags and taxonomies to identify ways in which practitioners were connected in their work. With practitioners being identified within a snowball method, we were able to enrich the corpus with systems change terms from their public information.

Next steps

While discussing our concerns for this map, we’d like to promote awareness and participation from practitioners around the world. We will be running regular sense making sessions with the stewardship group, and with people who have been identified through the snowball process and appear on the map. We would like this to be a live dialogue over the next year.

Actions:

If you are not on the map and you would like to be, and/or you would like to recommend other practitioners, please fill in this survey

If you are on the map and would like not to be, please get in touch here

If you would like to join a dialogue around what we are learning from this process, please sign-up here

Access more information here.

Discover another project

Stepping Into Systems Series

Get started on your systems learning journey with our Stepping Into Systems series, covering fundamental systems change topics and concepts.

Read more about this project

Stories of Change: Three Horizons

The fourth film in our Stories of Change Series featuring the Three Horizons Model: Humanising Healthcare in Fife, Scotland.

Read more about this project

Cultivating the field of systems change practice

Illuminate is a collaborative network designed to connect people committed to cultivating the field and practice of systems change towards a just, equitable and regenerative future for all.

Read more about this project

Stories of Change: Levels of Paradigm

The third film in our Stories of Change series featuring Levels of Paradigm from regenerative practice: Water Resilience in Mexico City

Read more about this project

Stories of Change: Multi-Level Perspective

The first film in our Stories of Change series featuring Multi-level Perspective: The Birth of Rock 'n Roll.

Read more about this project

Stories of Change: Iceberg Model

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

Read more about this project