A Framework for Thinking About Systems Change

1 minute read

I found the following diagram recently and I thought it was interesting. Unfortunately I struggled to find the original source: there’s a book titled “Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education: Piecing the Puzzle Together” that contains a chapter by Knoster, Villa and Thousand (2000) with the diagram. I also found another reference mentioning Lippitt (1987) as the original author for the five steps.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find a proper source nor validate either of the two: the book is without a digital edition, and I couldn’t find any article or book for the other. This makes a bit hard to evaluate the proper context and definition of each of these terms.

However, I find this valuable even in this unexplained form, so here it is:

Knoster, Villa, Thousand, 2000 "A Framework for Thinking about Systems Change" (Adapted)

While the original context seem education, the above seems more framed in terms of initial action around complex systems, which makes it interesting.

The aspect I find valuable about this diagram is that it highlights the outcomes of missing a piece, more than saying that you really need all of them. In other words, you can still achieve change without steps, but you have to consider the negative effect that comes out of it and address it.


Thanks to Lorraine Telford for more details on the original source.