Systems change:how will we know it is working?

Systemic impact refers to the widespread and often profound effects that an action, event, or change can have on an entire system or ecosystem, rather than just isolated or localized consequences. Understanding systemic impact is crucial because it helps us grasp the interconnectedness of different components within a system and the potential ripple effects that can result from any intervention or change. This proactive approach helps prevent negative outcomes that could harm individuals, communities, or the environment.

When addressing social issues and dealing with global challenges such as climate change, pandemics, or economic crises, recognizing systemic impact is crucial. It enables coordinated efforts to address the interconnected factors contributing to these issues and allows us to design interventions that address root causes and systemic barriers, rather than merely addressing symptoms.

Systemic impact has been gaining ground in the philanthropic sector who is starting to expand further its impact lens further, exploring systems analysis as a tool to help them do so. Stone Soup has started working with clients in that direction and we present our first publication on this important topic, Systems change: how will we know it is working? This first publication, elaborated by principal consultant Leonora Buckland, shows how we have done it and the lessons we have learnt along the way, hoping it can inspire others who wish to expand their outlook on impact, from an individual to a collective, systemic one.

A journey of systemic change

Stone Soup Consulting and Demeter Foundation have been collaborating for some years now, towards systemic change. Demeter was interested in investing in a process in Portugal where there was a dire need for this type of intervention.

Economic reinsertion as a remedy for high recidivism?

Recidivism is an endemic plague to the prison system, and a costly one. Every day, a single inmate costs on average 106€ of taxpayers money, totaling 36 500€ per year(1). On the other hand, about 59% of young inmates would go back to prison at a certain point in time(2): prisons are increasingly becoming checkpoints of a vicious cycle. However, a successful integration back to society is indeed possible, and jails are pivotal to ensure that it happens.