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Systems Mapping for Social Change - Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) 2018

8eb0387f354fd8a09690f059acd4a58f?s=47 Jeff Mohr
February 10, 2018

Systems Mapping for Social Change - Harvard Social Enterprise Conference (SECON) 2018


Jeff Mohr

February 10, 2018


  1. Systems mapping for social change Tools & approaches for creating

    durable impact +
  2. Jeff Mohr Cofounder & CEO, Kumu Advisor, The Omidyar Group

    Henning Ringholz Senior Executive, Small Foundation Visiting Scholar, MIT Legatum Center Harvard MPA ‘17 Jess Ausinheiler HKS MCMPA18 Jeffrey Glenn Harvard Chan School DrPH18 Perspectives
  3. “We must take care not to oversimplify an increasingly complex

    and dynamic reality. This is a common mistake, resulting in a great deal of bad conventional wisdom.” ~ Larry Kramer and Daniel Stid, Hewlett Foundation
  4. “…as we have watched funders and their grantees struggle and

    often fail to reach their ambitious goals, we have repeatedly felt a nagging suspicion that the conventional tools of strategic philanthropy just don’t fit the realities of social change in a complex world.” ~ Strategic Philanthropy, Stanford Social Innovation Review
  5. “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it

    gets.” ~ Paul Batalden, IHI Senior Fellow
  6. 1. Acknowledge Our Limited view

  7. 2. Embrace Complexity, Seek Simplicity

  8. 3. Make Assumptions & Mental Models Explicit

  9. VS. VS. VS 4. Look for Patterns, Not Problems

  10. 5. Pay attention to Unintended Consequences

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  12. Sugary-sweetened drinks banned from a school Childhood obesity rate over

    last 30 years; movement from urban to rural Unsafe neighborhoods and lack of open space leading to less exercise Freedom of choice vs. school’s job to prevent unhealthy choices
  13. Systems Thinking Warm Up Turn to a partner and share

    a complex challenge you’re working on. Then use the iceberg model and brainstorm 1-2 examples of: • Events • Patterns • Structures/Mental models
  14. A powerful web- based platform for mapping systems and

    networks. Free for public and classroom use.
  15. Remember…The map is not the destination

  16. Complex Market Systems Require New Approaches Henning Ringholz

  17. Financing Provides seeds Buys produce Extension service Provides seeds Buys

    produce Extension service Innovation & support Linkages, mentoring, metrics Mobile platform Tillage and other services Finance providers Insurance providers Export
  18. Affordable Housing & Transportation Jess Ausinheiler

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  20. Stakeholders in need of access to a thriving community &

    quality of life Access to meaningful Education Access to Q Housing Access to Living Wage Jobs Access to Q Health care Access to healthy food Access to Transportation Access to safe neighorhoods Existing Community's ability to preserve or improve their status Stable/ increasing housing prices Access to elected decision makers Information & awareness re: proposed development Ability to organize / political power Civic leadership's ability to ensure community, self &/or business interest Understanding of the Public interest Broad & deep knowledge (systems level) Q of Leadership Independence of action Independent funding Independent from politics Diversity of thought/ representation Market Rate developers ability to provide a profitable quantity & quality of market-rate housing Costs Land Construction Labor Mtls Process costs Process Time/ Uncertainty Fees Financing costs Interim Long- term Regulations Revenue # units Interest rates Availability of capital Revenue per unit Total Unit Cost Existing Market value Expected rate of return Profit Firm's IRR Firm's Brand Foundations' ability to fulfill their mission Sustain / increase asset base Build brand Quality of knowledge Quality of decision making Local, State & Federal government's ability to design & cause delivery of an "ideal" community (thru funding & regulating) in line with the interest & support of the Public Q of decision making Policy setting ability of Administrative Officials Ability to define & design an ideal community/ project Q&Q of Deep Knowledge Ability to execute NGO Advocates ability to work well on funding streams, regulation, and compliance Ability to lobby individual decision makers Ability to mobilize constituents Ability to litigate Adjacent service providers ability to ensure affordable, integrated quality of life services Total demand for IQOL services Total capacity for IQOL services Available funding for IQOL services Availability of Multilayer capital Availability of Subsidies Availability of LIH Tax credits Quality of AH brand Housing supply Rental supply Ownership supply Fluidity of job location Availability of Jobs Availability of workers Power of the American Dream Access to recreation Physically safe Environ- mentally safe Access to Health Access to Community Access to the Economy Consultants, lawyers, lobbyists EIR Mitigation Inspection delays & rework - - Wages - - AH developers ability to provide financially sustainable below market rate Q&Q housing with access to integrated quality of life services that add value to the Community Access to Public & Private Capital AH developer fees Access to IQOL Services AH development costs MR developer costs - - Fee/ project Availability of competitive investments Housing price Housing demand Rental demand Ownership demand Ownership Affordability Relative Income Ownership costs - - Minimum wage - - - Housing population Household/ family size - - Availibility of capital Construction capital Mortgage capital Financial institutions ability to generate highly competitive IRR while complying Market share Institution Brand Compliance (CRA) Operational efficiency Scale Access to investment capital Rate of return Ability to mitigate risk Q of investment decision making Competitive pressure - - - Ability to ensure compliance Q & Q of Staff - Leadership ability of Elected Officials Q&Q of Broad Knowledge Ability to ensure Public Interest Ability to gain Public Support - Population growth Net Immigration <Costs> - Openness to Outside Expertise Renter/ Owner Subsidies Non-fluidity of housing ownership Purchasing costs - Q of Location Density - Purchase price Other ownership costs Q of Development Design Economies of scale - Impact/ dollar spent Q&Q of Staff/ People available funding <Local, State & Federal government's ability to design & cause delivery of an "ideal" community (thru funding & regulating) in line with the interest & support of the Public> <AH developers ability to provide financially sustainable below market rate Q&Q housing with access to integrated quality of life services that add value to the Community> <Relative Income> <Revenue per unit> <Ability to ensure compliance> Union wages Potential impact of Advocacy strategy e.g., Rent control, inclusionary zoning, development capital, inclusionary zoning, rental assistance, etc. AH eligible land AH processing time Q of MR Organizational Capacity - - Equity capital Access to capital The Community's ability to ensure XX% of the AH Population equitable access to a thriving quality of life by 20XX Rental assistance - Q of AH Organizational Capacity <Compliance (CRA)> - AH Financing costs Constraints on Development - Asset/ Income disparity - Community Participation in Project Design Legend Reinfocing relationship Opposing relationship Q = Quality b b - Delay over time b Q&Q = Quality & Quantity NGO's Foundations Government AH Developers Market Rate Developers Housing Market Financial Institutions AH Population Civic Leaders <Ability to litigate> Mortgage deduction Renter protections - IQOL = Integrated Quality of Life <Community Participation in Project Design> Influence of Special Interest Lobbying - - Q of Government organizational capacity Government Silos - Government's access to capital - <Availability of competitive investments> - - Zoning associated costs Q of AH Culture Q of AH Information Systems Q&Q AH Staff Q of MR Culture Q of MR Information Systems Q&Q of MR Staff - AH developers ability to provide .... Ability to Collaborate <Availability of LIH Tax credits> <Q of AH Organizational Capacity> <Availability of Subsidies> <AH Available Land> Risk allocation Q&Q of Ongoing Public Engagment <e.g., Rent control, inclusionary zoning, development capital, inclusionary zoning, rental assistance, etc.> <Foundations' ability to fulfill their mission> - Compatability between regional, local & national regulations Q of AH Development Community Feedback Q of CL decision making <Quality of decision making> Strategic consideration Founder & Board intent Community Foundation Positioning Resources available to leverage Competition for Resources - Q of Evaluation (& Communication of Impact) - Political power Access to Affordable Energy Degree of Inclusion Q&Q of Staff & Support Services Ability to Elect Qualified Candidates Ability to influence the Political System <Ability to influence the Political System> Proximity Ability to generate & communicate compelling facts/ data/ political frames e.g., Seniors, Veterans, Healthcare, Environmental & others Property taxes Bldg code & regs Inclusionary <Local, State & Federal government's ability to design & cause delivery of an "ideal" community...> <Local, State & Federal government's ability to design & cause delivery of an "ideal" community...> Definition of Access to IQOL AH Developer Costs - Cash Deferred # of Deals Sustainable Operations Project Quality Rate of interest - Transparency - Housing Industry - Silos - - Copied here with permission from Housing California.
  21. A systems thinking approach to global governance for NTDs Jeffrey


  23. Humanity United: Addressing forced labor in corporate supply chains Jeff

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  27. New Strategy Built With Four Key Pillars Tools for corporations

    Investor awareness Brand and reputational risk Corporate legal accountability
  28. Free Course Available on +Acumen

  29. 1 Pick your frame

  30. What forces account for the current levels of human slavery

    in corporate supply chains? Why have we been unable to meet the needs of Syrian refugee children?
  31. Tips for framing questions Focus people on describing the system

    as it currently exists Turn your challenge or goal into a collective inquiry Don’t embed solutions or hypotheses Right-size the elevation (not overly broad or overly specific) Avoid abstract or fuzzy language Don’t relinquish to experts
  32. What forces account for the current level of _______? Despite

    our best intentions, why have we been unable to _______?
  33. 2 Enablers & inhibitors

  34. Enablers Inhibitors

  35. Refugees' commitment to helping/ volunteering Skilled educators in host countries

    Positive coordination among NGOs NGO experience & capacity to carry out programs Growing media attention on the issue Huge and growing number of refugees Restrictions around refugee employment Not enough financial support / donor fatigue Poverty Overcrowded classrooms Safety Trauma
  36. Enablers Inhibitors Behaviors Policies Beliefs

  37. Behaviors the actions people take (processes and skills of key

  38. Behaviors the actions people take (processes and skills of key

    people) EXAMPLE positive coordination among NGOs
  39. Policies rules and structures (systems, institutions, rule of law)

  40. Policies rules and structures (systems, institutions, rule of law) EXAMPLE

    restrictions around refugee employment
  41. Beliefs what people think and value (attitudes, norms, views of

    other groups)
  42. Beliefs what people think and value (attitudes, norms, views of

    other groups) EXAMPLE refugees' commitment to helping/ volunteering
  43. Your turn Brainstorm as many enablers and inhibitors you can

    think of for your topic Sort each enabler and inhibitor as primarily related to a belief, behavior or policy Fill in any gaps where you don’t have at least one belief, behavior, or policy 8 min
  44. 3 Upstream / downstream

  45. FACTOR Upstream causes Downstream effects

  46. OVERCROWDED CLASSROOMS huge influx of Syrian refugees overstretched systems poor

    education quality resentment by host communities
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  48. 4 Build loops

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  52. Your turn Pick a theme that has come up in

    your exercises and try to draw a loop Start at one factor and add connections and factors until you end up back where you started Take a stab at whether the loop is reinforcing or balancing 8 min
  53. … The Full Process

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  55. REMEMBER Map what is, not what you want to happen

    Hold your map (and strategy) lightly Pay attention to the quality of your curiosity Move to action quickly and test your hypotheses Don’t conflate good intentions with impact
  56. Questions?

  57. Interested in learning more? Kumu System Mapping Platform ( +Acumen

    Systems Practice Course ( courses/systems-practice) Humanity United Performance Report (https:// The Systems Thinker (
  58. “Changemakers are people who can see the patterns around them,

    identify the problems in any situation, figure out ways to solve the problem, organize fluid teams, lead collective action and then continually adapt as situations change.” ~ Bill Drayton & David Brooks
  59. Thank you @kumupowered +