Systems Changers - a new programme with The Lankelly Chase Foundation

April 15, 2015, by The Point People

From chronic poverty, to homelessness, to mental illness, to substance misuse, the complex social problems we face in the UK are too big for any one individual or organisation to shift alone. These problems don’t exist in isolation. If we want to tackle them effectively we have to work together across sectors to make change happen at a systemic level. Yet too often, the people with the least influence over shaping that change, are the people with the most insight into how a system could better serve the people it is there for.

That’s why we’re launching a new programme (the Point People and Snook), supporting The Lankelly Chase Foundation to deliver real sustainable change. Systems Changers sets out to amplify the insight of frontline workers supporting people facing severe and multiple disadvantage. These people working at the frontline with some of the most vulnerable people in the country are often under-heard, under-resourced and over-stretched. Systems Changers is an investment in these workers, enabling them to develop their voice, their collective knowledge and their influence on a wider system.

We are so excited about this programme. It builds on the work The Point People have been doing to support a systemic approach to tackling the big problems of our time. Last year we launched systemschangers.com, with support from the Praxis Institute at Oxford University’s Green Templeton College, which focused on capturing the practices of some of the pioneers of systemic innovation in the UK. We then went on to bring similar actors together to develop the vocabulary of systems change at the Keywords event with the Chartered Institute of Accountants & Oxford University’s Said Business School. The Lankelly Chase Foundation participated in both these initiatives.

Both of these initiatives focused on bringing together ‘systems builders’ - people who are working to create the conditions for change to happen in complex environments. These are people trying to design the architecture for change, for example through building new infrastructure, and forging institutional linkages. Frontline workers, in contrast, offer a completely different entry point into any given system, and the possibility of approaching change quite differently. A whole systems approach can only work by changing complete sets of relationships, models, processes and methods at every level simultaneously. Borrowing from some of the Keywords materials, frontline workers might be able to “assemble” or “unsettle” or “seed” or “integrate” change by being that much closer to people’s lives as well as the delivery aspects of the system itself. We hope that by surfacing the insights of these Systems Changers they feel able to further influence and change some of our most broken systems.

This six-month programme will be the first of its kind in the UK and will initially focus on the North East & North West of England.

Participants will have the space to reflect on and develop their insights, to step back and better understand the wider systems they work in, to develop new skills that will give their ideas more impact, to build networks and new knowledge across boundaries, to experiment with different tools, to learn from leading practitioners and get one-to-one coaching. We’ll also be working with their organisations and the wider system to make their participation as meaningful as possible.

To apply for Systems Changers : Click here if you are a frontline worker. Click here if you are the manager of a frontline worker that you'd like to recommend.

The deadline for applications is 11th May 2015. If you have any questions then get in touch at: systemschangers@lankellychase.org.uk