#45: Breaking my silence!
Hello to 2022 and a renewed commitment to weekly broadcasts.
I’m Luke Craven; this is another of my weekly explorations of how systems thinking and complexity can be used to drive real, transformative change in the public sector and beyond. The first issue explains what the newsletter is about; you can see all the issues here.
Hello, dear reader,
Well, when I put my tools down over Christmas I did not expect them to remain dormant for so long! It’s been a three-month break from weekly writing, but I’ve found my time quickly consumed by other things, including my new role at Collaboration for Impact and my new home in Melbourne. I’m pleased to say that I’m loving both and I now feel ready to launch madly back into a weekly writing habit. Strap in for missives and reflections on the theory and practice of systems change, war stories and case studies from my work supporting governments to think and work in more systemic ways, and various other titbits and links that take my fancy.
While you wait for that—regular issues resuming next Tuesday—I thought I’d take the opportunity to share some other updates.
The systems change movement in Australia is growing, and Collaboration for Impact (fondly known by all as CFI) is expanding our team as a result.
CFI is a leading capability building services provider in the field of place-based collaborative change and systems change. We support over 40 initiatives across Australia to drive social change, many based in regional and remote Australia.
You can see all of our current vacancies here, but there are two in my team that I’m particularly excited to share:
Systems Change Practitioner: an opportunity to work closely with me and CFI’s partners to support community-led systems change as part of the Stronger Places, Stronger People initiative
Learning and Evaluation Associate – Systems Change: an opportunity to lead the evaluation, codification and practice development across CFI’s systems change practice area.
Both roles will work with me and my team to support a wide range of place-based reform and systems change initiatives, and will be deeply involved in shaping the next horizon of our work.
Please share and far with your networks, and reach out to me or Kyrstie Dunn if you would like to learn more. Please note that due to the nature of our work, these roles are Australia-based and require Australian citizenship or permanent residency.
The next horizon of place-based change
Earlier this year, I shared a piece with CFI’s network about what’s on the horizon for place-based change in 2022, as we see growing interest from governments and other partners in funding this way of working. In the full piece I called out three trends:
An increasing focus on new models of leadership for systems change. In my conversations across the sector, I’m hearing huge demand for programs and learning opportunities that support the development of a new kind of leadership—systems leadership—that can enable, catalyse, and support systems-level change. Across government, community, philanthropy and the service sector, the story is the same: if we continue to think about leadership in the same old ways, involving the same old things, we are going to continue to be disappointed by the results.
Aligning different place-based frameworks and funding streams across government. Across all levels of government, there is a rapidly increasing interest in collective impact and other place-based models. This is an exciting trend but does not come without challenges. Over 2022, I anticipate that we will see more examples of multiple government agencies funding place-based work in a single place, often through multiple backbones or intermediaries, on varying timelines, with different policy objectives. This risks creating unnecessary complexity that falls back on communities and backbone organisations that manage multiple relationships, funding, and reporting frameworks. A challenge for us all this year is how alignment and integration can lessen this impact on community organisations.
Community control and co-governance of services and support. A big question for all involved in the place-based change ecosystem—government, intermediaries, service providers, and funders—is how we take up opportunities for the work we do to be meaningfully controlled by the communities. There are glimmers of what this can look like in practice, including in the Stronger Places community Bourke, NSW, which has developed an incredibly sophisticated community governance model that could serve as an exemplar across the field.
What else I’ve been up to
When I joined CFI, I told you how excited I was about the prospect of four-day work week and what else it enabled me to focus my fifth day on. I’ve been keeping busy, as expected, including:
Working with VicHealth to support their transition to be a more systemic organisation and to strengthen their approach to making change in the Victorian health promotion ecosystem.
Being a critical friend and sounding board to the Net Zero Division at the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as have been working to develop a really nifty systems mapping and modelling tool.
Exploring the next horizon of System Effects and how we might integrate it with other tools in the Kumu suite, like Undercurrent. Watch this space as we kick off a pilot in partnership with the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.
If any of these pique your interest or you might be keen for my help with something similar, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m always up for a chat.
A final thought
By the way: This newsletter is hard to categorise and probably not for everyone—but if you know unconventional thinkers who might enjoy it, please share it with them.
Find me elsewhere on the web at www.lukecraven.com, on Twitter @LukeCraven, on LinkedIn here, or by email at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.