Five insights for innovative systems change | Apolitical


Five insights for innovative systems change | Apolitical

Five insights for innovative systems change

Deep rooted problems demand deep rooted solutions


This article is written by Dan Jones, Associate, Social Finance

Covid-19 has exacerbated the challenges we face, but they are not new.

Many have deep and complex roots, and have resisted repeated attempts to address them. Public servants around the world are increasingly interested in systems change —  reorienting our whole approach to this kind of intractable problem, across the public and voluntary sectors, in order to tackle it at the roots.

More than 100,000 people in the UK are at high and imminent risk of being murdered or seriously harmed by a current or family partner or another family member. With no change in this number over the last 15 years, it is clear that the existing approach to domestic abuse is not working.

The Drive partnership has helped change the UK’s response to domestic abuse at a local and national level. We’ve developed new ways of working with perpetrators, to change their abusive behaviour, which are now being widely adopted.

We’ve influenced policy and funding streams, and reframed the narrative on domestic abuse —  from “Why doesn’t she leave?” to “Why doesn’t he stop?”.

Drive began with partners coming together around a problem they had already identified independently, and a shared ambition for system change

We want to share five insights from our recent report on Drive and systems change, for policymakers and practitioners trying to develop new, more effective responses to intractable social problems:

  • Start with a problem, and stay focused on solving it:
  • Show that change is possible
  • Link local and national
  • Get the relationships right
  • Tell as well as show

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Five insights for innovative systems change | Apolitical