Bridgeway Partners Blog

Category: Social Change

Inspired by Congressman Tim Ryan's book A Mindful Nation, this post identifies and encourages readers to cultivate connections across mindfulness, systems thinking, and public policy-making. It shows the numerous similarities between mindfulness and systems thinking, and it describes the role that both can play in facilitating not only social change but also transforming the fear-based, symptom-focused, blaming behaviors that govern an increasing part of our political discourse. ... read more »
In order to lead systemic change, learn to access levers at the individual, collective or relational, and systems levels. The I/WE/IT framework enables leaders to cultivate a viewpoint of personal responsibility for change, strengthen collaborations, and identify high leverage interventions. ... read more »
Whether you believe that inequity is racially and/or economically driven, the problem undermines the moral as well as social and economic fabrics of our country. This post describes several dynamics and assumptions that lead inequity to persist, and six high leverage interventions leaders can pursue to create greater equity in their communities. ... read more »

Diffusing Systems Thinking

How do you encourage people to think systemically when many people see it as too daunting and difficult to apply? This post identifies five obstacles to systems thinking and fourteen corresponding strategies you can use to engage people in the practice and thereby increase system-wide effectiveness in sustainable ways.  ... read more »
Policy makers who seek to protect society from people struggling with substance abuse often end up becoming addicts themselves. They become addicted, albeit unwittingly, to quick fix solutions which temporarily address social problems but undermine society's ability to implement more permanent and fundamental solutions. ... read more »

Developing the awareness and will to make fundamental individual changes comes from thinking systemically. Developing the ability to implement these changes in service of the whole is a result of acting systemically.

... read more »

Good Intentions Are Not Enough

Lewis Thomas, the award-winning medical essayist, observed, “When you are confronted by any complex social system … with things about it that you’re dissatisfied with and anxious to fix, you cannot just step in and set about fixing with much hope of helping. This is one of the sore discouragements of our time.”

Consider the following headlines all based on true stories, which epitomize Thomas’s insight:

  • Shelters increase homelessness
  • Food aid increases starvation
  • Drug busts increase drug-related crime
  • Job training programs increase unemployment

 These stories share specific characteristics:

... read more »

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