Why systemic change requires a different approach to collaboration

Through our Future of Home initiative, we’ve launched a Systemic Impact Network in Home and Housing that’s currently being trialled in South Australia.

2 July 2020

By the TACSI Team

Why this network?

The intent of the Systemic Impact Network is to bring together different people from across the housing system to align their influence, resources, capital, know-how and passion to create better outcomes at scale.

There’s strong commitment from 22 leaders from across South Australia’s home and housing sector, including multiple Government departments, private developers, NGOs in community housing and aged care, organisations addressing homelessness, philanthropy, architects and academics.

What sets this network apart

Too often leaders report the inefficiencies and lack of effectiveness in collaborations and round table efforts. That’s why, over the past three years, we’ve developed and trialled a new and strategic approach to “networks”. 

The working hypothesis is that by connecting and aligning people (across a system) towards a shared goal, the group will take bolder actions toward reform. Key to its success is careful curation, the development of behaviours and mindsets, the building of trust to have tough conversations, and the ability to build the network’s identity and legitimacy. 

This diagram illustrates some of the differences between general networking approaches and a systemic network approach. We’re currently using this approach across a number of initiatives.

Traditional network vs network for systemic impact: What’s different?

Traditional networks


Network for systemic impact

Narrow focus on special interest groups, organisational interests, effective & efficient institutions.

Narrow focus


Systems focus on better outcomes for people, going ‘beyond brand’.

Systems focus

Ego mindsets that promote self-interest, superficial listening, oppositional conflict, power dynamics & passivity.

Ego mindsets

Eco mindsets that promote shared interest, deep listening, generative conflict, equity & action.

Eco Mindsets

Rigid structures that dictate process, hierarchical or power based decision-making and actions.

Rigid Structure

Flexible structure that defines principles and intention and builds trust and mechanisms for working together.

Flexible Structure

Reflective methods rooted in making decisions based on what’s been done in the past.

Reflective Methods

Active methods that learn from the emerging future by taking action, learning by doing, pivoting and iterating.

Active Methods

Collective action where everyone takes the same action & does the same thing(s).

Collective Action

Aligned independent action that adapts actions for needs and contexts testing a diversity of different, aligned actions

Aligned Independent Action
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