Further Reading

Throughout this resource guide, there are many references to articles, books and websites. The following are additional materials that we found illuminating or thought-provoking but are not specific to a particular resource.

Complexity and Community Change: Managing Adaptively to Improve Effectiveness

By Patricia Auspos and Mark Cabaj
Aspen Institute, 2014

This publication provides an easy-to-understand guide to complexity that includes concrete examples of how grantmakers and social sector actors are applying complexity to their community change efforts.

Complexity and Management Centre

This site shares the wisdom of Ralph Stacey and his colleagues. Since popularizing the idea of simple-complicated-complex-chaotic, the Centre has moved away from the Stacey Framework and continues to provide new insights that explain and challenge assumptions about complex systems.

The Dawn of System Leadership

By Peter Senge, Hal Hamilton and John Kania
Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2015

This article presents the case for a unique type of leader — the system leader, a person who can catalyze collective leadership to address the deep changes necessary to accelerate progress against society’s most intractable problems.

Fostering Systems Change

By Srik Gopal & John Kania
Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2015

This article offers five simple but important rules for foundations seeking to create lasting social change. 

Racial Equity Tools

A service of the Center for Assessment and Policy Development, MP Associates, and WorldTrust, this site has compiled tools, research, tips, curricula and ideas around racial equity as a central element of systems change.

Simplifying Complexity

By Eric Berlow
TEDGlobal Talk

This TEDGlobal Talk helps to connect complexity sciences to systems change in society. It also offers suggestions for how to make decisions in order to influence systems.

Systems Change: A Guide to What It Is and How to Do It

By Ellen Harries, Rachel Wharton and Rob Abercrombie
New Philanthropy Capital, 2015

This publication presents an introduction to systems change, especially for those new to it. It provides not only accessible background materials but recommendations for action.

Systems in Evaluation: A Topical Interest Group of the American Evaluation Association

Since 2004, the AEA has hosted a community of practice focused on understanding and applying systems thinking to evaluation. This guide only touches the surface of learning and evaluation for systems grantmakers. The AEA and this group can provide more detailed information.

Systems Concepts in Action: A Practitioner’s Toolkit

By Bob Williams and Richard Hummelbrunner
Stanford Press, 2010

The authors present nineteen systems resources — including how-to information and a case study — that can help social sector actors describe and analyze their situation, change and manage their situation and learn about their situation.


Each of the systems resources we profile also includes additional reading to help guide you in using the resource.