About the Academy
The Academy for Systems Change is a nonprofit organization focused on advancing the field of awareness-based systemic change in order to accelerate ecological, social, and economic well-being. We are a network of individuals, organizations, and other networks focused on cultivating thriving systems in education, marine ecosystems, business, sustainable communities, finance, and more. We work with leaders across multiple domains and ecosystems, recognizing the interconnectedness between them and the applicability of capacity building tools and frameworks across all.
What is systems change?
Systems change is inherently an “inner” and “outer” process or journey. This work involves deep shifts in mental models, relationships, and taken-for-granted ways of operating as much as it involves shifts in organizational roles and formal structures, metrics and performance management, and goals and policies. Because of this, we believe that the development of self is foundational. This inner work – which involves developing awareness, compassion, understanding, and wisdom – also extends to teams, networks, organizations, and ultimately to the larger systems within which we work. Our vision is to strengthen the emergence of systemic consciousness, both conceptually and practically through our work with future leaders – men and women who can unify the inner and outer practices of sustainability and systems thinking.
Our guiding principles and values
Inspired by the words of Donella Meadows, who was a colleague and teacher to many of us, our values include:
- Love and care: nurturing values that encompass self-respect, inclusiveness, tolerance, responsibility and equality;
- Collaboration: acknowledging we can’t be transformative by acting alone, we must work across geographical and functional boundaries to create more just and sustainable communities and organizations across the world;
- Community: reaching out to communities to develop the synergies created when individuals work together;
- Thoughtfulness: being open to new ideas and sensing our impacts on the wider system as a means of bridging to a more sustainable future;
- Whole System Vision: learning to see, and helping others to see, the continually emerging, inter-connected nature of living systems;
- Leadership: developing a network of Systems Leaders who can balance the personal, intellectual, emotional and social aspects of leading;
- Thriving: imagining systems – communities, nations and ecosystems – that can regenerate and prosper in spirit and physical wellbeing;
- Transcendence/transformation: fostering hope, which is the doorway to new action;
- Sufficiency: challenging the myth of material growth as the answer to all problems and demonstrating the benefits that accrue when we live and work in harmony with each other and Nature.