DESIGNING COLLABORATION: Workshop – Using systems thinking to design your collaboration

If you are pursuing large-scale social impact then it follows that you must be changing the system as well as reforming services.  Improving service delivery and integration is essential but not enough to create population level change.

But what does it mean to change the system?  How are system interventions different from service delivery programmatic ones?  And how does your collaboration use systems thinking to develop an effective strategy?

This workshop will answer these questions.  Through an interactive and applied format, you will be introduced to systems thinking and a toolkit for collaboratively assessing systems and then generating, prioritising and implementing systems change interventions.

This workshop was developed in 2017 by Collaboration for Impact and CSIRO’s Livelihood and Adaptive Development Team, with support from Australian Council for International Development (ACFID).  These partners are working together to offer this workshop more broadly to the Australian and International social change sectors in 2018.


Register Now!


3 & 4 July 2018


Australian Leadership Innovation Centre, Canberra


There is growing recognition globally that levels of complexity and uncertainty are increasing.  Strengthening resilience, that is strengthening a system’s ability to adapt and respond to external impacts while maintaining function, is a prerequisite for achieving improving outcomes for people and communities.  Social change initiatives in Australia and abroad will need to deliberately and collaboratively design for systemic resilience.


This 2-day workshop will be delivered by CFI with CSIRO co-facilitating on Day 1.  The workshop has been designed using a range of adult learning formats including:

  • Interactive group processes that build shared understanding of language. These processes can be taken and used by participants in their own work.
  • Pre-reading and content presentations on systems thinking, systems change interventions and collaborative responses
  • Instructions, guides and tools on how to collaboratively undertake system assessments and develop system change strategies
  • Use of a live case study to apply some of the tools during the workshop in order to build understanding and confidence
  • Working with participants live challenges around initiating and strengthening collaborations so they can apply systems thinking and systems change strategies.


You should attend this workshop if you are:

  • Involved in, leading or thinking about initiating a collaborative response to a complex challenge
  • Developing policy to better respond to complex challenges
  • Funding collaborative change processes
  • Playing a role enabling collaborations to develop their thinking and practice
  • Evaluating the impact of collaborative change processes

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the workshop participants will have:

  • Greater awareness and understanding of systems change
  • Practical experience applying systems thinking tools to a worked example
  • Skills designing collaborative responses to complex challenges
  • Developed insights and plans for making progress in their collaborative work


Early bird ticket price = $675 + GST (4 weeks before workshop)
Full ticket price = $750 + GST


Dr Yiheyis Taddele Maru, CSIRO

Yiheyis is a senior systems research scientist based at CSIRO Land and Water Business Unit in Canberra.

Prior to joining CSIRO in 2002, Dr Maru had
extensive experience in conducting applied systems research and leading sustainable agricultural development and environmental rehabilitation programs in Ethiopia.

He has veterinary medicine background was involved in extensive pan African disease
eradication programs. Since he joined CSIRO in 2002, Dr Maru is has been conducting research for sustainable indigenous livelihoods and resilient regional development in remote Australia, as well as systems research for food security and agricultural development in sub-Saharan Africa. His current research focus include:
1) Mainstreaming systems and resilience thinking (resilience, adaptation and
transformation pathways) into interventions for sustainable development in
developing countries, and Australia
2) Developing agricultural innovation systems informed partnership models for
improved animal health surveillance and biosecurity systems in Australia.

Sharon Fraser, CFI Associate

Sharon works to support the design and implementation of collaborative practice with communities, government, peak bodies, business, NGOs and services to build a united action for social change.

Her areas of work include facilitation, coaching, mentoring and walking along side leaders and communities driving social development, innovation and improved shared outcomes.

Sharon’s deep, on-the-ground experience in implementation of Collective Impact and collaborative practice within the Australian context has informed her participatory and strength-based approach using methods designed for:

  • building collaborative governance and practice
  • building structures and processes, to give voice to people in community including those experiencing social vulnerability
  • exploring change, through reflection and analysis, and
  • exploring power, and developing ways to share power to achieve improved social outcomes.

Previous Executive roles in health, community health and local government, have focused on leading and supporting transformational change within services and community.   From 2011 to 2017 Sharon was the General Manager of Go Goldfields leading the design and development of a Collective Impact, place based approach to social change to improve outcomes for youth, children and families. Prior to this Sharon was the Project Manager Models of Care for the New Bendigo Hospital project deeply involved in driving services redesign, partnerships and governance structures to enable this changes.

Sharon has deep experience in assisting people and organisations to hear and understand diverse voices to develop a shared aspiration, plan and implement a way forward and learn while doing.

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