10 key drivers of system change

by | Oct 22, 2021 | Change, ICT4D |

drivers of change

As part of the sign up process for a recent discussion regarding humanitarian data, I asked the question ‘What are the key drivers of system change?’ Here’s what I heard back:

  1. Data champions in every team in every country. With the skills, personal power, and commitment to combine the logic of data with the heart of humanitarianism 
  2. People, Processes, Partnership, Principles, and Power. But also that certain personality characteristics were important including: patience, persistence, and perseverance, but also knowledge, awareness and critical thinking
  3. Informed, educated, and aware Organisational Leadership with a clear vision and strategy that is actively promoted
  4. Stakeholder buy-in with enlightened self-interest and institutional interests. The stakeholders included organisational leadership, institutional leadership, host governments, and community leadership
  5. Sustained Energy – the key word being sustained.
  6. Fear & a good shock from a crisis i.e. Security breach or lawsuit or safeguarding scandal 
  7. Donor buy-in and pressure + MONEY (follow the money)
  8. Meaningful leadership accountability, which includes: legally enforced and accessible means of civilian redress and rectification and systems that ensure that the voices of those most affected are raised up.
  9. Collective action, finding allies in different parts of the system itself, exterior good examples that can serve as role models (find the others)
  10. Reconceptualisation

Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?

Photo by Mika Baumeister

1 Comment

  1. Fred

    This is great! I would suggest a slight amendment, though. In the first point, I personally dislike the term “champion”. I may be wrong (especially since I am not a native English speaker), but “champion” sounds to me like the random programme staff member with any prior background that is kind of keen on data-related stuff and fluent with computers. And I think the sector has been stuck to this for too long, becoming seriously behind the rest of the world in terms of information management and especially data protection and data security. So instead of “champions”, I would like to have engineers, trained and certified people who know the stakes and context, who can frame and quantify risks and design solutions in a swift manner to adjust to the fast-paced and fast-changing humanitarian activities.


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