Why this article? Purpose and position

The word power keeps popping up wherever I turn. Through my ten years of doing my doctorate action research it was all over my notes and reflections. I kept pushing it out of what I was writing about and feeling scared to even go there as if the power of it itself was too much to face or to look at, as if it was just too complex and unknown. In the end I could not ignore the question and did reflect on what it meant for the work I had been doing. I concluded that the field of systems…


2020 — the year we all learnt what it means to be isolated and or to know what it means to be with the same people day in day out without the diversity, travel and variety that we are used to. 2020 was the year of starting to understand what it really means to live change around us, trying to navigate the waves that come your way.

The year started with me attending a 4 month Processwork course. Exploring how we can

“facilitate the inherent ‘process mind’ and creativity in nature, even and especially when grappling with the most difficult…


Facilitation is a creative process of bringing awareness to the world. It is about sensing and working with people, interactions, relationships and other dimensions. A lot of this is about following the emerging process and helping to find the potential and the unfolding direction. This all sounds very well but for those who are seeking to learn about facilitation or to deepen their practice are there any guides to how you might do this, be it if we are facilitating a conversation, a one off session or a whole learning journey or complex multi-stakeholder process? …


Never has there been a better time to ask big questions about how we might need to change our lifestyles so that we can address the magnitude of the climate crisis. Where might we look for a way forward? There are many ways to understand how change happens, based on experience and practical attempts at creating change and the wider theories that are based on how individuals, society and our systems operate.

As a systems change action researcher and practitioner I am constantly grappling with such questions. Trying to marry the worlds of theory and practice in order to support…


Navigating change is one of the premises of our curriculum at the School of System Change. We bring in multiple contributors who share different frameworks and practices that help us both understand how change happens and also how we might live through change. During this time of Covid-19 I have turned to some of the frameworks and models to help me figure what is happening as part of a larger story. What is the pattern of society changing and what approaches might be useful?

Societal change frameworks


At the School of System Change we support people to navigate multiple approaches, tools and methods for systems change, because we believe there are many ways to do this work. Regularly, we are asked “How do you know whether what we are doing is systemic?”. Through our programmes we work with and draw on a wealth of practitioners across this emerging field. What we started to notice was a set of “systemic practices” that we think are at work across multiple approaches and tools practitioners use. Currently there are ten (a few more have joined the family since an earlier…


An exploration

I often share the resistance people have to doing their “inner work” — the process of deliberately changing yourself through bringing an awareness to what is happening inside you and how it affects what you do in the world — and ask myself surely we need to just get out there, change things and stop navel gazing!

Although I have been doing my own inner work for years (below see practices I draw from) I have been cynical about really publicising it as something that is needed for others. …


At the beginning of each year I take some time before returning to work to think about the year ahead — to set some intentions for the year and to look the work that lies ahead. I have found it really useful to think big, being able to prioritise and when things get really busy, which inevitably they do have something to go back, even if they need readjusting.

This year is no different. What I have noticed (or perhaps re-noticed) is the importance of action inquiry in my way of working and being in the world. What this means…


Key words: Systemic, ecosystems, relating, inquiry, roles, #livingchange

This starts to documents our action inquiry into forms of organising for systemic change. It was authored by Laura, Louise, Anna and Corina, who are based at Forum for the Future and part of a multitude of spaces, from labs and networks to platforms and communities of practice.

The context: a time of increasing complexity

The world is constantly changing and evolving. Living systems evolve towards greater complexity, as do the systems we create across our societies. The challenges we face, such as biodiversity loss, social inequality or climate change, are also becoming more complex, urgent, uncertain and volatile…


My colleagues asked me should we be using system(s) change with or without an s or even systemic change. Here is my response to their question, it is quite technical and is about definitions but might help you unpick how you might want to define the term.

When reading it I would encourage you to see what speaks to you — how might you help yourself and others navigate what it means in different settings? How by getting a deeper understanding of different terms can you understand what is informing your way of articulating and using systems change?

A system…

Anna Birney

Cultivating #systemschange | Director @forum4thefuture | School of System Change | Passion #inquiry #livingsystems #livingchange

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