A powerful tool for organizing, visualizing, and disseminating a theory of change, systems mapping leverages the graphic, diagrammatic language developed by MIT faculty to model and optimize processes in industrial systems.
Synthesis of scattered knowledge
By drawing on a range of traditional sources of information – from reports and academic theory to interviews with stakeholders – the team tasked with developing a system map synthesizes a theory of how the system works.
Each relationship, called a causal link, makes up a building block in the understanding of the whole.
Gathering point for stakeholder dialogue
The map becomes useful when individuals who experience the system day-to-day can see themselves and their challenges represented by the map. Once the causal linkages can be seen, they can be understood, internalized, and challenged where need-be.
Framework for consensus building
Once a model of the current state is agreed upon, it’s time to go to work deciding upon how to shift the system to a more desirable state. The systems map holds the Leverage Points upon which the group will collectively act.
Communicating a Theory of Change
As a strategy for systems change emerges, a simplified map helps stakeholders communicate the intended action and the expected outcome, building support from potential allies and new stakeholders.
To learn more about engaging your stakeholders and charting a course for change with systems mapping, please contact us.
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