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We all have a role in systems change

Blog posted by: Alice Evans, 14 March 2017.

Reflections from Alice Evans of Lankelly Chase.

We recently launched our major report Building Collaborative Places: Infrastructure for System Change. The report, supported by Lankelly Chase, is based on a year of action research and explores the ‘hard-wiring’ that is required to embed whole-place, whole-system working.

At the launch, we invited three individuals, all with different experiences and perspectives, to reflect on the challenges and opportunities that come with place-based collaboration. Over the next few months we will share with you some of the insights and provocations that Lord Victor Adebowale, Chief Executive of Turning Point and Chair of Collaborate, Councillor Jean Stretton, Leader of Oldham Council, and Alice Evans, Director of System Change at Lankelly Chase offered us.

As a person who, by virtue their role, is often asked to explain systems change, Alice Evans has found the analogy of a tree to be a useful way to unpick the different conditions and support that is required for whole place whole system change. She suggests that the system behaviour and shared vision for a place are the roots, and that once places have established this they often rush to the intervention — the leaves and the branches. She sees this jump as the gap and argues that if places are serious about change then they also need to build the infrastructure to support it — the trunk. The ‘trunk’ is the focus of the Building Collaborative Places report.

“The ‘trunk’, or the infrastructure, is almost invariably the dullest and seemingly interminable part — but it is equally as important as the others” —  Alice Evans


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