Creating and sustaining system change collaboration

Creating and sustaining system change collaboration

// By Jacqueline Brennan

You’ve navigated the complexities of working collectively with organizations and individuals that share your goal of solving a social inequity issue. You’ve made good progress. But how do you keep the momentum going and create systems that last? How do you ensure the change you’ve made sticks?

If you’re about systems change, don’t miss the Upswell workshop, “How to Create Resilient Systems Change,” co-presented by Robert Albright, director of programs at FSG – Collective Impact Forum; Hayling Price, senior consultant at FSG; and Christina Krasov, chief strategy officer at Thrive Chicago. These three presenters will be sharing insights on Thrive’s collaboration with partners to improve outcomes for Chicago youth, their work with FSG to develop a systems framework, and how you can use their learnings to advance collaborative, systemic change in your community.

“FSG has helped us name the things that usually are hidden when you’re trying to make systemic change, in our case for young people – things that don’t get talked about openly like power dynamics and mindset,” Christina says. “Those barriers can be very real and break any good collective strategy or plan.”

The workshop will cover several needs, according to Robert, including how to sustain the momentum and progress when partnering with other organizations.

“We know in the social sector more broadly there are a number of collaboratives that run out of steam,” Robert says. “And as Christina and I have seen through our work, there are several key elements – like power dynamics and mental models and policy change – that can go beyond the programmatic interventions that you really need to be thinking about. The questions are why are those elements so important? Why is it so difficult for one organization to move them? And how do you influence them in the context of a collaborative?”

Robert, Hayling, and Christina will lead you through learning guide prompts to help you consider conditions in your community you want to shape and influence around systems change. Then you’ll join a conversation about using the guide to have similar conversations with your partners about the factors you have influence over, those you want to change, and how to influence things like policy, or the narrative or mental model that people at different levels of changemaking have around a particular issue.

Christina and Robert see the workshop not only as an opportunity to open people’s perspective about dimensions of change beyond programs, but also to draw upon the perspective of those in the room.

“The majority of direct service providers don’t get paid enough to be driven by money. The other side of that coin of responsibility is the fear that what they’re working on might not be impactful, and it might not be impactful in perpetuity,” Christina adds.

“This workshop offers a space for anyone who’s had that thought – ‘Am I doing enough? Is this program going to end after funding runs out?’ I think we don’t have enough spaces to ask the important questions people worry about. Our Upswell session offers that chance for reflection in a safe space.”

How to Create Resilient Systems Change is happening Thursday, November 14 from 9:30 to 11:30am.

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