Systems Thinking Ontario – 2020-11-09 – Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change


Systems Thinking Ontario – 2020-11-09


November 9 (the second Monday of the month) is the 85th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration will be on Eventbrite at .

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change

Peter Jones presents a customized talk from the RSD9 plenary session for ST ON. Ryan Murphy joins with a full presentation of his RSD9 talk.

We often use the model of “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals. Essentially these are the working theories by which we explain the logic of system change outcomes, and we often include quasi-systemic logic models to communicate them. ToCs are as ubiquitous in social innovation and philanthropy as business models are in startups and VCs. “Systems change” has emerged as a major movement in the worlds of impact investing, philanthropy, and the NGOs they fund, and the proposals expected to advance studies and change programs embrace the language of the theory of change.

  • Do Theories of Change reflect coherent models of change that we can observe or assess in real social systems? If so, are logic models sufficient (do they correspond to reality)?
  • How do we Represent Transformation? Framework of four Sensemaking Logics
  • What are the meanings, purposes, effectiveness, basis in systemics, their common applications, uses and misuses of Theories of Change?
  • Can we produce better theories for change through systemic design rationale?

Join us on Nov. 9 starting at 6:30pm ET.


Suggested pre-reading:

agenda in source:


Systems Thinking Ontario – 2020-11-09