Tip sheets: Supporting system change

Embracing Messiness

This column is about confronting the nature of the beast. Hard work with and for families to improve navigation services can be messy and fraught with frustration. That frustration is often rooted in existing ‘systems’ that are difficult to change. When I speak of ‘systems’, I refer to such things as the current ’way things are done’, the way financial resources are allocated, the nature of relationships (if they exist at all) and communication among individuals, families, organizations and different government bodies, or longstanding attitudes and mindsets that seem intractable.

I plan to dive into the black box of that messiness. I hope to share some emerging knowledge that I sought out for my own work, as well as some of my and others’ experiences in systemic change initiatives. I do so in the hope that you may find solace, understanding and inspiration; solace in the shared experience, understanding because knowledge is power, and inspiration from stories of progress and failure that allow us to reflect on what those words really means in this work.  

I welcome your thoughts!

Tip Sheets

A Story About Eggs

In 2018, during a residency about systemic change related to deep-seeded societal problems, I was asked to find a visual around which to tell the other participants a story of my work at the time. Here is the backstory. I had been working intensely...

The Powerful Stranger

“We have met the enemy and he is us” (Pogo, the comic strip character, as cited in Westley et al, 2007; p. 94) 20/20 hindsight: laying blameAs I look back on my work, confronting systemic barriers for neurodivergent individuals has always included...