Date: 18 October 2017

Systems Thinking: Half-day Program and Workshop

Location: San Francisco


"Social problems are the product of networks of cause and effect—a fact that needs to be reflected in the way we act to improve them." -New Philanthropy Capital

Systems change has gained increasing recognition within the social sector as an important approach for addressing root causes of problems. Yet despite its pervasiveness, it is often expressed as an abstract idea, rather than an accessible tool with recommended actions.

In this half-day program, TPW members are invited to join the 2017-18 cohort and thought leaders in this field for an interactive workshop to demystify systems thinking and uncover concrete ways to apply it in your philanthropic work. Whether you are funding the arts, climate, economic equity, education, movement building or global development, taking a systems approach is often critical to create lasting change.

Learning Objectives and key questions to consider:
• Clarify what is meant by systems thinking and systems change
• Understand the main perspectives on systems change
• Explore good practice for systems change
• Through interactive case studies on issues areas including criminal justice, early childhood and women and girls, explore tools that can help you apply a systems thinking approach to these issues as well as other causes important to you

Schedule and speakers:

Introduction to Systems Thinking (Lalitha Vaidyanathan, Managing Director, FSG)

In the opening session, Lalitha Vaidyanathan, Managing Director of FSG, provides a concept review of this much discussed but often misunderstood philanthropic approach. She examines what it means to employ systems thinking within philanthropic work, and answers the top key questions TPW members have on this approach.

Opportunities and Pitfalls of Systems Thinking (FSG, Humanity United, and TPW Members)

In this panel conversation, leading consultants, philanthropic foundations and TPW members  share their experiences, including the opportunities and challenges, of applying a systems change approach in their work.

Case Studies: Applying a Systems Approach to Critical Issue Areas

In this workshop session, participants will break into small groups to apply a systems change approach to critical issues including criminal justice; early childhood and women and girls. These sessions will be led by consultants from FSG who are experts in systems thinking as well as these specific issue areas. This is an opportunity for TPW members to come together as peers to apply cutting edge systems thinking tools in considering how to increase social impact in these and other issue areas.

Please email Marylou Gourlay for additional information.