#3Wedu Episode 17: What is systemic change and why does it matter?

I had the pleasure of meeting Kristin Powers at #OLCaccelerate last Fall at our #3Wedu session. I spoke with her after our session where she shared her experiences working in a primarily male tech community. She shared a story about the success she and her current team have had making systemic changes to their organization that have led to a more inclusive, diverse work environment. What is systemic change and why does it matter?


Photo by Ariel Ophelia

When we talk about change initiatives they usually involve ‘one-off’ programs that are not connected or aligned with the whole system. We then wonder why, when we have so many ‘successful’ programs we are not seeing the needle move. There needs to be a shift to systems thinking-we need to consider all aspects of the system, and systems are complex. The Accelerating Systemic Change Network discusses the importance of including the individual, department, and inside and outside the organization.  Organizations come in a lot of different sizes with different cultures and histories. The structures put in place at many institutions and organizations were put in place my men and there has been little systemic change since then. What needs to happen? We need to consider all the subsystems within the larger system when designing programs and take the time to understand what they real problems are, the challenges people are facing and gain empathy for one another. Everyone within a system needs to feel cared for, supported and that they belong. How do we permeate care and a sense of belonging across the system? Systems thinking + design thinking = A caring, inclusive work environment.

Join Kristin and the #3Wedu tribe on Wednesday May 24th at 6 PM ET/5 PM CT.  Have resources you would like to share or issues you would like to discuss: add them to our show notes page or post on Twitter with our hashtag.