Applied systemic change: an implementation guide for building capability in human service systems

Shelley Mallett, Sally James, Joseph Borlagdan, Danielle Thornton and Diane Brown

The BSL's applied systemic change guide draws on extensive experience from research, policy and practice to provide the essential ideas, practices and tools to create deep and lasting change in human services.

At a glance

This Implementation Guide outlines the BSL’s distinctive approach to applied systemic change. It aims to give practical support to people who are committed to transforming the patchwork and unwieldy systems that maintain disadvantage and inequality.

Dive deeper

This Implementation Guide is set out in three sections, to be used in a flexible way.

Sections 1 and 2 explore the ‘why’ and ‘what’ of systemic change. They include two case studies: the first outlines the systemic changes required to support at-risk young people through their transition to adulthood; and the second uses Australia’s vocational education and training (VET) sector as an example of how a complex human service system operates.

Section 3 presents the ‘how’ of doing systemic change work. To illustrate this, we use two practice examples: the National Youth Employment Body (NYEB), and Housing Connect 2.0 (HC 2.0) in Tasmania. These case studies reflect the culmination of our learning to date from more than 10 years of trialling, refining and delivering projects and programs on the ground.

Who is this guide for?

The Guide is designed for people and organisations who are keen to create transformational policy and practice change, and address so-called wicked problems. They include policymakers, researchers, service providers and practitioners, and community organisers, advocates and champions.

Last updated on 15 June 2023