A team from the University of British Columbia was awarded first prize in the Map the System Virtual Global Final 2021.
Map the System is a global competition, led by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, that challenges us to think differently about social and environmental change. Rather than focusing on a solution, Map the System invites participants to deeply explore a complex issue, using systems thinking to understand the problem and its wider context.
Through visual systems maps, teams articulate their findings in a way that people can meaningfully understand. Participants must demonstrate their research into existing solutions, as well as identify impact gaps and levers of change. As Skoll Centre Director, Peter Drobac, put it: ‘Map the System is less about coming up with solutions, and more about understanding the problem. That’s the first step towards systems leadership.’
We had 38 teams from across the globe and they each had five-minutes to present their systems analyses to judges over the course of three days, showing adaptability as their presentations moved to an online format, with participants speaking from their homes all over the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Just eight teams were chosen to go through to the final round on Friday, 11 June 2021, for a public Virtual Global Final which was streamed live.
The judges for the Global Final weekend were:
- Nathania Aritao, TAYO International
- Shola Diop, Alinea Capital
- Tsechu Dolma, Intelligent Networks
- Ian MacRae, Omplexity
- Harley Pope, University of Reading
- Gurpreet Singh, Skoll Foundation
- Josiane Smith, SIX
- Sharon Zivkovic, Wicked Lab
Teams were judged on their ability to demonstrate their understanding of the broader system in which their challenge exists, identifying root causes of the problem and surfacing any critical assumptions, systemic patterns, and potential levers of change that their systems analysis surfaced. One of the judges, Sharon Zivkovic, noted, “Our decision as judges was incredibly difficult, as there were phenomenal entries this year. We were blown away by the dedication and passion demonstrated by the students while tackling difficult social challenges.”
First place was awarded to the team from University of British Columbia, who explored the Unique Get Together Society (UGTS) and Urban Indigenous Food Insecurity in British Columbia. The team made up of Cathy Zhu, Emily Chau, and Anika Cheng, won a £4,000 cash prize.
Second place went to the National University of Singapore, awarded £3,000 for their investigation of how Singapore’s meritocratic educational system unintentionally exacerbate social inequality. They also took home the Audience Choice award, voted for by attendees of the public virtual event.
Third place was awarded to University of Oxford. Their team used systems science to better understand the interactions of deep social, political, and economic structures that keep youth from entering and succeeding in the fine art industry in Ghana. The team won £2,000.
The five runner-up teams who also presented in the final round, were:
- Vanderbilt University, who looked into Housing Affordability and Gentrification
- Hitotsubashi University, who investigated how can we create climate-resilient cities
- University College London, who looked into Food poverty in Cambridgeshire
- Wilfrid Laurier, working on Modern Day Slavery: Sex Trafficking in Canada
- Utah Valley University, who investigated Homelessness in Salt Lake City
‘I was blown away by the fantastic job done by the finalists, showing us how well they understood their issue’s ecosystem, and how important it is to address these challenges’ said Map the System Programme Manager Dr. Sheen Gurrib.
‘At a time when good news feels hard to come by, the Global Final was an important reminder of the Map the System participants’ commitment and passion to make the world a better place. It has been an absolute honour to have been part of this year’s edition.”
If you are an educator interested in teaching systems-led thinking at your institution and want to be a part of the 2022 Map the System competition, please contact email@example.com