New Article From John Kania, Mark Kramer, and Peter Senge Provides an Actionable Framework for Catalyzing Systems Change

Jun 6, 2018 9:00 AM ET

An Actionable Framework for Catalyzing Systems Change

June 6, 2018 /3BL Media/ - A new article, The Water of Systems Change, published by FSG, provides an actionable model for funders and other social sector institutions interested in creating systems change.

Many funders and grantees today find the concept of systems change and its implications difficult to grasp and apply, despite decades of academic research and activist leadership. The Water of Systems Change aims to clarify what it means to shift the conditions holding a social or environmental problem in place.

Authors John Kania, Mark Kramer, and Peter Senge define six conditions of systems change, offer examples and ways of thinking about each condition, and highlight organizations that are shifting systems.

The article specifically explores:

  • How systemic conditions perpetuate inequity and reinforce racism, sexism, or ableism
  • The critical need for foundations to focus on changing relationships and connections, power dynamics, and mental models in their work
  • How foundations can build the capacity to support systems change internally and externally

Read The Waters of Systems Change on > 

About the Authors

John Kania is global managing director of FSG. He focuses on inspiring FSG’s leadership team,

consultants, and operations staff to achieve excellence in their work. He has been a leader in FSG’s

intellectual capital development related to catalytic philanthropy, collective impact, shared value,

and systems change.

Mark Kramer is a co-founder and managing director at FSG. He leads the research on many of

FSG’s publications, publishes regularly in Harvard Business Review and Stanford Social Innovation

Review, and is a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School.

Peter Senge has been at the forefront of organizational learning since publishing his classic text,

The Fifth Discipline, in 1990. Considered by Harvard Business Review to be one of the seminal

management book of the previous 75 years, The Fifth Discipline provides the theories and methods

to foster aspiration, develop reflective conversation, and understand complexity in order to build a

learning organization.

About FSG
FSG is a mission-driven consulting firm supporting leaders in creating large-scale, lasting social change. Through customized consulting services, innovative thought leadership, and support for learning communities, we help foundations, businesses, nonprofits, and governments around the world accelerate progress by reimagining social change. Learn more at