Social Sector Self-Assessment
Many social sector actors have a long history of bringing about systems change. Such change includes:
- Expanding or innovating a service that alleviates the immediate needs around a particular problem through more and/or better service (e.g., species preservation or food pantries);
- Coordinating service delivery and/or policy advocacy efforts to achieve a systems-level outcome (e.g., close the racial disparity in and increase overall high school graduation rates);
- Redirecting resources and attention from one part of the system to another (e.g., create market demand for sustainably sourced fish or shift funding for LGBTQ rights from the United States to other countries);
- Addressing the root causes of a problem (e.g., reduce fossil fuels);
- Creating an alternative system (e.g., alternative education or local sustainable economies); and
- Building a movement with many diverse organizations and individuals using multiple strategies simultaneously to change systems at scale (e.g., reproductive justice).
The people involved in these systems change initiatives have developed a strong grasp of the fundamentals. These basics have become well-known best practices (e.g., seeing the big picture of interrelationships, focusing on root causes rather than symptoms, and grounding solutions in the perspective of people directly affected, etc.). Social sector actors continue to innovate and strengthen the tools, methods, and frameworks for systems change. This includes learning how to influence complex systems, developing a group’s capacity for systems thinking, integrating equity and power sharing into systems change efforts, and bridging strategy and implementation to achieve transformative results.
How are you integrating systems thinking into your change initiative? Take this assessment to find out. Based on your answers, we will suggest some ways that this resource guide can support you as you increase your systems change effectiveness.
We assume that you are part of a group of people leading a systems change initiative.
We refer to this group as your team. Most of the activities below are done by your team – not by you alone. However, as you take the assessment, you should answer for yourself and not for your team. What are you doing directly and indirectly through the team?
If you are working on multiple initiatives, it is best to focus on one program or initiative over time when answering these questions.
For each of the following statements, indicate how frequently you do the action or strategy. It will take 5 to 7 minutes to complete this assessment.