Behaving Like a System? The Preconditions for Place Based Systems Change


Author +
Sarah Billiald, La Toyah McAllister-Jones

Year: 2015

This report examines the preconditions for systems change in a place. It unpicks the critical behaviours and vision that makes system change more likely, more deliverable and more sustainable. In doing so it addresses a critical gap in the thinking and practice of system change – the need to systematically build readiness to work towards outcomes in more collaborative ways.

‘Behaving Like a System’ is more than a tag line. It is a critical part of delivering more effective services to support people facing multiple and complex needs. The following pages show why this is the case drawing on a period of deep collaboration between Collaborate, the City of Coventry and the Lankelly Chase Foundation. The conclusion is that without understanding and getting the system preconditions right, transformation in public services cannot achieve lasting and fundamental change citizens

Download Behaving Like a System

Download the Behaving Like a System summary

Read the report to find out more about:

  • Nine preconditions for systems change (focusing on vision and behaviours)
  • What these preconditions look like to people when they do (and don’t) exist
  • Ways in which places might use these preconditions to support place-based system change

These preconditions, now identified, are starting to act as a convening narrative; enabling people and organisations in a place to have an honest conversation about what really needs to be done together to enable individuals to flourish within a system of services. Developing this approach across service areas and into the granular challenges of delivery could not be more critical at a time of acute spending cuts and sustained social demand.

Table of Contents

Place-based systems change: Introducing Coventry
Getting an understanding of the culture of a place to inform our understanding of system change
An approach to system change: Six things that are important
Introducing our pre-conditions for systems change: A focus on vision and behaviours
Nine pre-conditions for systems change:
– Beneficiary impact over organisational focus
– Citizen-centred: from concept to delivery
– Issues are acknowledged as systemic
– Grounded in place but open to new approaches
– Trusted partners: understand and adapt to each other’s values
– Strengths based: utilising the assets of people and place
– Distributed leadership: enabling, convening, fluid, no egos
– Resilient & risk embracing: safe to fail, able to bounce back and learn
– Able to let go: act as a platform for innovation
What could the preconditions mean for an individual facing complex needs
How do these preconditions come together in Coventry – three case studies
– ‘Case study 1: Homelessness and housing’
– ‘Case study 2: Troubled families’
– ‘Case study 3: Ignite’ as the three
From pre-conditions to conditions – from vision to delivery
How might a place use these pre-conditions?
Appendix 1: Steering Group members
Appendix 2: List of interviewees and focus groups

Original Source