Systems convening

Social learning across complex landscapes requires a certain kind of leadership, which we have called systems convening. Many people do this kind of work without any label, often unrecognized, and sometimes not even particularly aware that they are doing it. 

A systems convener or systems convening team sets up spaces for new types of conversations between people who often live on different sides of a boundary. For example, a geographic, cultural, disciplinary, political, class, social boundary. These conveners see a social landscape with all its separate and related practices through a wide-angle lens: they spot opportunities for creating new learning spaces and partnership that will bring different and often unlikely people together to engage in learning across boundaries. A systems convener takes a “landscape view” of wherever they are and what they need to do to increase the learning capability of that entire landscape – rather than simply the capability of the space they are standing in. Importantly, a systems convener is someone who has enough legitimacy in different worlds to be able to convene people in those different worlds into a joint conversation.


A systems convening handbook

We are preparing a book that should be useful for people who are doing the work of systems convening. We hope it will also help to raise the profile of the kind of work carried out by systems conveners. The funding for this handbook comes from a collaborative of foundations concerned with systems change for societal good. 

A systems convening workshop

We are also running a workshop for aspiring and practising systems conveners (regardless of whether it’s part of your job title). The in-person workshop is postponed until the coronavirus situation makes it safe to travel. The online workshop takes place over 4 weeks (approximately 6 hours a week) and runs from September 14 – October 9, 2020. Register on this page…

Blog posts


Finally – I’m seen!

Finally – I’m seen!

Systems conveners: essential workers long term In 2014, we wrote a chapter on what we called “systems conveners,” people who work to increase learning capability across a whole social landscape that includes many practices, institutions, and stakeholders. It’s not...

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