Systems Leadership

In our work, we explore what systems leadership means, what working with living systems really looks like and how that plays out for real when you have a central role within loosely-organised human systems that are trying to address complex issues.

Where we begin

Comfort in Complexity: There are many models for how systems are supposed to work. Each has at its core a philosophy, sometimes explicitly understood and described, often less so.

More than magic

Feeling systems: At its best, systems leadership seems to exhibit an almost magical sense of the possible. Where people are locked in apparently intractable complexity, systems leadership seems to open up a new way through the mess.

Seeing into Systems

A constant sense of uncertainty accompanies systems leaders. Even at the peak of their careers they are driven by a constant curiosity about how things function as they do.

From linear solutions to systems change

Encouraging systems change: As we face into some of the greatest problems of our times a new mantra emerges, the mantra of ‘systems change’. Why? The major challenges facing our world cannot be solved for everyone everywhere through discrete solutions.

Systems Leadership for Sustainable Development

Taking action on complex challenges such as the implementation of the 2030 Agenda requires a departure from traditional top-down, hierarchical and linear approaches. A report, co-authored by Lisa Dreier, David Nabarro and Jane Nelson suggests using innovative and adaptive approaches to engage broad networks of diverse stakeholders.

Download the Executive Summary (PDF)
Download the full report (PDF)