Alice Evans talks about systems thinking at Lankelly Chase

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In this short video, Alice Evans (Director) talks about systems thinking at Lankelly Chase.

My name is Alice Evans. And I am one of the directors at Lankelly Chase. And Lankelly Chase is a charitable foundation, whose mission is to change the systems that perpetuates severe multiple disadvantage. And by that, I mean homelessness, drug and alcohol, criminal justice, mental health, domestic violence, and that interlocking nature of those issues. 

At Lankelly Chase, our whole mission is to change the systems that perpetuate severe multiple disadvantage. So system thinking is a thread that runs through our whole organisation. I came in initially as the Director of Systems Change and had to start to learn different system thinking methodologies, different approaches, how we could do it. And we’ve started to work out how to embed that practice across the whole of us as an organisation. So it drives almost all of our practice, our thinking, the structure of our organisation, and the way we relate to people outside.

We use systems thinking throughout our work. There are points where we’ve brought into our work as an organisation.  For example, we have restructured all of our funding and the way we relate to our partners as actual enquiries to help us work and deal with complexity. So that we’re not setting a preconceived idea about how we’re going out there. So that we can work with our partners to try and answer questions. 

Other ways that we’ve brought systems thinking in is that we have, together with others, set up a programme called Systems Changes, which is for front-line staff in the voluntary sector and the statutory sectors to think about how they can gain the insights from their position. And how they can have the power to change the systems. And how do we skill them up to think systemically. And to be able to do that, we’ve had to scale ourselves up internally to get that systems thinking in practice. 

Systems thinking has been a methodology and a mindset and brought different tools to help us contend with the nature and the complexity of the issues that we’re trying to work with. So if we’re thinking about people who face severe and multiple disadvantage, then we’re talking about issues that are related to the individual. We’re talking about multiple systemic failures, and we’re talking about structural issues.  And what it’s helped us do is contend with and find starting points in how we can change. And it’s helped us look at the detail while seeing the big picture. And it’s helped us understand that we’re not just focusing on one organisation or one project or one thing. We are looking at multiple factors and how they all interrelate.

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