Giving Compass’ Take:
· Using healthcare as an example, Building Impact explains that systemic change begins with addressing the root cause of the problem and understanding how the system truly works. When implementing systems thinking, you must consider the components of the system, the relationships between components of the system, and the outcomes produced by the system.
· How can organizations implement systems thinking to create positive change for their causes? How can this strategy be used to address public policy issues?
If your phone turns off and you plug it into a charger, most likely, it turns back on. If it doesn’t, you now have to consider other potential issues in order to get it to work again. As human beings, we use linear, event-focused, cause-and-effect thinking as our go-to mental strategy for making sense of the world around us. This works in simple situations — like when your phone’s battery dies. But, when linear thinking will not solve our problems, we have to turn to systems thinking.
Systemic change — change that is fundamental and impacts how an entire system functions — requires systems thinking . The healthcare system in the United States is a good example, and a relevant topic to today’s political discussions. It’s easy to say that high costs are the most important problem in our healthcare system. But, if you only tackle reducing healthcare premiums, and ignore the poor quality of services or the unintended consequences of costs rising in other areas , you have not improved the healthcare system as a whole.
In order to improve healthcare in our country for all citizens, we must define the improved state, recognize the variety of barriers at play (e.g. high costs, poor quality, lack of access, etc.) and then look to identify and address the true root of the problem. We also have to understand related issues and relationships that play a role in the system (e.g. the structure of for-profit insurance companies and the historic context and factors affecting health, such as a lack of access to healthy foods and safe public spaces). In order to have deeper, lasting positive impact on complex social systems like healthcare, we must do everything we can to understand how these systems actually work-and what our own roles are in them.
Read the full article about driving systemic change by Building Impact at Medium.
Impact Philanthropy is a complex topic, and others found these selections from the Impact Giving archive from Giving Compass to be good resources.
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