The scary process of launching something new

My inquiry and action into how to change systems started 15 years ago however as the team at Forum for the Future aim to launch the first prototypes for the School of System Change something I have helped steward for the last two year it makes me feel a mixture of scared and nervous. I am readying myself to put my head above the parapet (or Meerkat hole).

The ambition is huge, perhaps way to huge, to not only help create a programme for system change but to coalesce a global learning community, to work with a wide range of partners and practitioners who have also been working in this field for years. To find ways to create a learning infrastructure that can be scalable but also has a workable operational model and a sustainable business model. There is definitely going to be failures at some, if not all things, which is going to require bravery into moving into the unknown of how it might work over the coming years.

The big question that has been going around in my head for the past months, that has at times stopped me being more brazen or confident in this venture is — Who am I to curate and bring together a community of system changers to help to build the capacity of the next wave? Some might say that I have been a pioneer, but it feels hard to accept such a label when I see a bunch of other wonderful and more amazing people than myself, many I feel privileged to call not only my colleagues but also my friends, creating change and driving forward projects that I could not do with such skill.

So that even though I have loads of experience in system change, am considered an expert in this field by some, I find a label like this really hard to accept or to wear. When I really understood system change, I realised I can never really be an expert, the field is so massive (across a multitude of disciplines), the range of practices so huge, that I could never master them all and the challenges of the world so intimidating I feel who am I to claim this space? There is just so so much more to learn, so many skills to develop.

‘There are some people who establish a brilliance and command over a system of thought. I am not one of them. All I know seems forever to be in a state of change.’ (Flood, 2002:75)

Personally I am not motivated to develop this school to just enable others, or to seek glorification or acclaim, I am also doing it for myself. This journey has felt like a lonely path, exploring the frontier is not always as exciting as it seems. I have a deep desire to have and find more co-travellers on this tough journey but more importantly to learn together and support each other as we, practitioners and people who want to have an impact, try an address some of the toughest challenges this world has ever seen.

I am excited by the team we are and continue to pull together to truly work on this shared endeavour and this blog is an invitation to help us build this, to grow the School of System Change collectively. Come along not just for others but for yourselves as I believe a global community of change agents, who are working and learning together, is our best chance of accelerating a sustainable future.

Watch this space for more ways you might be able to get involved or just get in touch with your ideas!!