SCALE+ | System-wide Collaborative Action for Livelihoods and Environment


Analyze the core issue

The first step in thinking systems on a given development issue is to decide to think broadly about the issue—the social, economic, governmental and environmental forces—surrounding it.

In SCALE+, doing the contextual analysis is called mapping the system. At project outset, the project defines known issues and challenges based on research and consultations with networks of donors and key leaders in the field. Because of its focus on building social capital, a project utilizing SCALE+ requires a different administrative and management configuration from conventional development efforts. SCALE+ relies on a team with strong communications capabilities trained specifically to support improved networking within the system, the Systems Integration Team (SIT). This team should be formed during the mapping effort and continue through the remainder of the project.

The team maps relationships among key stakeholders within the system, noting where and how they are working, what issues concern them, and with whom they are already collaborating. Shared understanding of this wider context should grow during a project as the complex relationships in a system are revealed in greater detail and depth. This network information is captured in a database for purposes of knowledge sharing and also for monitoring change.

This initial mapping becomes the basis for identifying and inviting core stakeholders into the SCALE+ process. A voluntary Cross-Sector Advisory Committee is formed representing key groups across the network, as well as thought leaders informed about the development problem.


Participation and perspective

The Cross-Sector Advisory Committee takes further ownership of mapping the system. One of their first tasks is to expand the related issues and stakeholders. Their knowledge, coming from different experiences and viewpoints as well as from different networks, allows knowledge about the system to expand in multiple directions, shedding light on the complexity of relationships and underlying challenges.

The Cross-Sector Advisory Committee considers not only stakeholders who are actively engaged in the issues, but new partners (media, influential personalities, religious leaders) who are important to any social change process. As the database grows, it also serves as an invitation list to the first formal event of the SCALE+ project: the Whole-System-in-the-Room (WSR) strategic planning retreat. The WSR (described under Integrate the System) is a participatory mapping experience to stimulate shared understanding and collective action.


Project Implementation Team (PIT)
The team in charge of management for the overall project.

Systems Integration Team (SIT)
The team responsible for leading and implementing SCALE+ within the Program Implementation Team.

Cross-Sector Advisory Committee
The volunteer stakeholder committee formed at the beginning of the project to advise, shape, and drive SCALE+.

Task Forces
Formed by volunteer stakeholders at the Whole-System-in-the-Room event to focus on a common goal.