What's its purpose in systems grantmaking?
To guide a participatory systems learning and change process.
What is it?
A six-step process for guiding stakeholders through systems change. The process includes the following:
- Define a targeted problem.
- Engage diverse perspectives.
- Scan system conditions influencing the targeted problem.
- Engage stakeholders in making sense of the system data.
- Develop a shared agenda and local infrastructure.
- Facilitate an action-learning process, which is an iterative cycle that combines design, planning, action and evaluation.
Refer to the graphic below for the detailed six steps.
When is it useful?
- When a group of grantees and other social-sector actors must collectively understand the system to influence it
- In systems bounded by community-level issues or by geography
What are tips and cautions for systems grantmakers and the social sector?
- Participants need clear expectations and support to participate.
- The facilitator needs to be able to acknowledge and navigate power dynamics within the system, particularly if the grantmaker is present during the conversations.
- ABLe works best with multiyear initiatives. However, the creators of the framework have found ways to incorporate aspects of ABLe into shorter initiatives of a few months. For example, the early childhood system building efforts in several states nationwide are using the system-scanning process to guide the system change design and strategic planning efforts in local communities.
ABLe Change Framework Resources
The ABLe Change Framework: A Conceptual and Methodological Tool for Promoting Systems Change
By Pennie G. Foster-Fishman and Erin R. Watson
American Journal of Community Psychology, 2012
Pennie Foster-Fishman, Ph.D.
Director, System exChange
Professor, Department of Psychology
Senior Outreach Fellow, University Outreach and Engagement , Michigan State University