Systems Practice: An Approach to Move from Impossible to Impact

Striving to create enduring change in our complex, dynamic world can feel daunting — and sometimes downright impossible. With so many interconnected forces at play, it’s easy to get discouraged by detours, false assumptions, roadblocks, and dead ends.

A systems practice is a way to make sense of complex environments and uncover the dynamics that have the greatest potential for impact. This course will lead you through each step of understanding a system, analyzing it to find points of leverage, and learning how to adapt in a changing environment. You will also gain access to a portfolio of step-by-step tools, processes, and mindsets to apply to your current and future work.

This course is ideal for professionals working on complex problems across any field of social impact. A systems practice journey has the potential to transform the way you work, think, and view the world and can get you closer to your goal of creating sustained positive impact.

 

 

OUR LEARNING PARTNER

Acumen is excited to partner with The Omidyar Group to offer this course.

Acumen has partnered with The Omidyar Group’s Systems & Complexity Team to develop the curriculum for this course. The Omidyar Group is a collection of companies, organizations, and initiatives focused on empowering individuals to cultivate a thriving world. The Omidyar Group applies the systems approach to many of the complex issues it tackles and has assembled a dynamic team, led by systems thought leader Rob Ricigliano, to coach and support its various initiative teams.

Rob has been in the field of conflict management and complex negotiations since he attended Harvard Law School almost 30 years ago. During his career, he has engaged in numerous peacebuilding efforts in the social impact field, including serving on the first U.S. team ever to teach negotiation at the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy in Moscow and training diplomats and other government officials from Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. In his current role as Systems and Complexity Coach for The Omidyar Group, he helps initiative teams and organizations use a systems practice to deepen the reach and sustainability of their impact in the world. Prior to joining The Omidyar Group, Rob served as an adjunct professor and co-director of the master of sustainable peace building degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

YOU'LL LOVE THIS COURSE IF

  • You’re working on tough problems and not having as much of an impact as you’d like
  • You’re looking for new ways to tackle tough issues
  • You’ve tried other approaches but haven’t seen significant change

WHAT YOU'LL LEARN

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how a systems approach works
  • Launch a systems practice
  • Gain clarity about the complexity in your system
  • Identify specific points in the system where you can make a big impact
  • Develop a framework for learning and adapting over time as your system changes

HOW THIS COURSE WORKS

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course, but we will have technical and subject matter experts available to assist you online. The course will be offered through a third party learning platform called NovoEd.  Course content will consist of readings and interactive exercises which you can access when the course starts. You can take this course individually or as a group.

WORKLOAD

This course is designed to be completed over 10 weeks.  Each week, there will be approximately 1 hour of individual prep work (completing readings and watching videos) and then 2-5 hours you will spend doing an interactive assignment, ideally with a team of 3-8 of your coworkers or friends.

TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS

You will need a computer with the ability to upload all your assignments.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to take this course?

+Acumen courses are free.

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course? 

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals who complete all requirements.

Who is the instructor for this course?

There will be no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course, but you can ask questions in the course discussion forum.

The lead content expert for this course (who will guide your learning via videos) is Rob Ricigliano, the Systems and Complexity Coach for the Omidyar Group.  Rob has been in the field of conflict management and complex negotiations since he attended Harvard Law School almost 30 years ago. During his career, he has engaged in numerous peacebuilding efforts in the social impact field, including serving on the first U.S. team ever to teach negotiation at the Soviet Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy in Moscow and training diplomats and other government officials from Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America. In his current role as Systems and Complexity Coach for The Omidyar Group, he helps initiative teams and organizations use a systems practice to deepen the reach and sustainability of their impact in the world. Prior to joining The Omidyar Group, Rob served as an adjunct professor and co-director of the master of sustainable peace building degree program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

What are the technical requirements?

This course will be provided by a platform called NovoEd. Please review ‘NovoEd Technical Requirements and Browser Compatibility’. They have additional information on Mobile Compatibility and Low-Bandwidth Support.

You need a computer that allows you to watch videos through this platform, download our course materials (PDF reading) and the ability to upload your assignments

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