Practical steps to unlock systems change

Date Published: July 23, 2024
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The world typically evolves gradually until circumstances align, prompting bursts of change within the system.

Scott Hinkle

Igniting Systems Change: Transformative Steps for Humanitarian Organizations by Scott Hinkle

In the face of operational stagnancy within humanitarian organizations and agencies, systems change is sparked by teams and individuals who are passionate about embedding creative thinking styles into their work. Scott Hinkle, Systems Change Specialist at Wasafir, taps into the potentiality of the incredible and propelling transformations that can take suite when humanitarian organizations take practical and incremental steps towards addressing complex systemic barriers.

Hinkle’s enlivening blog draws fascinating parallels between the complex world we live in and our work setting as humanitarians, both being comprised of several components that are mobile, ever evolving and sharing varying degrees of interlinkages. He touches on the organizational mindsets of humanitarians and how our ways of working are underpinned by a nonexistent assumption that crises have an eventual end. This “illusion of an end state” is an exemplification of how the assumptions in our work oftentimes crystallize rigid and hierarchal structures and institutions.

Rather than uprooting an entire system at once to address the major structural problems riddling humanitarian teams globally, subtle and immediate tasks and tweaks can be done. They will yield bursts of positive change. The goal is to realize “light bulb” moments within individuals and teams that lead to greater shifts within mindsets. For example, to undo the “illusion of an end state” assumption, it is essential to cultivate an environment and organizational culture which prioritizes learning and adaptability throughout program cycles. In turn frontline staff, management and donors will understand and work towards institutional policies and practice that promote continuous learning and adaption.


Click the link to read Hinkle’s blog post: Practical steps to unlock systems change | ALNAP