Exploring Systems

The Craft of Systems Change

We have growing evidence the world of the future will look different from the world of today. That means the solutions we take today to tackle our most pressing societal challenges—global health, climate change, biodiversity conservation—must work together to realize the kinds of changes we need to create a safe and just future for all of us.

At WWF, we are working to transform how we plan, implement and evaluate our programs so they can better adapt to the changing needs of our complex world. Through guiding principles, practical tools, and real-world stories, we strive to make systems thinking practical and accessible for those seeking to create inclusive, impactful, and adaptive solutions to today's toughest problems.

The Craft of Systems Change Practical Tools for a Complex World

The Craft of Systems Change introduces a way of thinking and working called the Systems Journey, which knits together the many ideas, tools, and ways of being in the world that are often traced back to systems thinking and systems change. The Systems Journey encourages readers to engage meaningfully with the systems and the people around us, explore the many different futures we may aspire towards, and learn our way towards a future that works for everyone. 

Through the use of practical facilitation tools, readers are invited to look within to deeply engage with what may be preventing change, embrace a learning mindset that can help surface new leverage points in the systems where we work, and adapt our actions to ensure they create the change that we need for a better future.

While the book was written for those working to advance nature conservation goals, it is truly for anyone who wishes to take steps towards changing themselves and the systems we all live and work in. This book takes systems thinking out of theory and into practice and encourages a way of living and working in the world that is inclusive, holistic, and impactful every step of the way. Leer en Español.

The Art of Systems Change Eight Guiding Principles for a Green and Fair Future

The Art of Systems Change lays out a vision and an actionable plan for seeking sustainable solutions for our planet. In Part 1, the authors outline the fundamental tenets of systems thinking, the behavior of complex systems, and the implications for our understanding of the world. In Part 2, the authors outline a set of eight guiding principles for working to achieve long-lasting solutions to tackle our most pressing environmental societal challenges. Finally, they lay out a map for the road ahead, and for the individual journey into systems practice that each of us is embarking on. 

This book is not designed to be prescriptive. It does not lay out a specific set of tools to guide the design and implementation of interventions. What it does do is seek to provide a collective roadmap for navigating toward a sustainable future, by embracing the complexity of the challenges we face, creating space for diverse ways of knowing, and providing ways of working that reflect the dynamics of the systems we strive to influence. We can no longer ignore that the fate of humanity and the planet are at risk. How we go about our work must be in intentional service of the lasting change we seek to make. 

Fuller Symposium 2018 Living Systems

How can conservation shift to keep up with the demands of our rapidly changing world? The 2018 Fuller Symposium, presented in collaboration with National Geographic, inspired thinking on why and how to integrate principles of systems theory in conservation. WWF brought together a diverse array of leading experts to challenge our current way of working—and to devise creative solutions to complex conservation and development challenges in the context of our dynamic planet.

Watch the 2018 Fuller Symposium sessions on Living Systems.