Systems Week

Web banner: Logo for Skoll Centre, Logo for The Centre for Knowledge Equity. Text: Systems Week, 7-11 June 2021, #SystemsWeek2021

A global conversation on how to teach, learn, support and measure equitable systems change.

Systems Week 2021

A virtual event on 7 – 11 June 2021.

The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship is a dedicated centre for social entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford. Based at Saïd Business School, our goal is to maximise the positive impact of social entrepreneurship across the world – through supporting and inspiring students to tackle world-scale problems, and through co-creating and facilitating knowledge exchange to bridge the gap between theory and practice. We believe that together, we can change the way the world works.

Convening a global community of systems thinkers

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated structural inequity throughout our global systems. Systems Week is a convening of practitioners, educators, researchers and students to reimagine more equitable systems, and how to teach, learn, support and measure systems change. These conversations will explore relationships between systems actors, systemic problems and solutions; resistance to incumbent systems and inequitable power dynamics; and the resources needed to support systemic change.

Developed in collaboration with the Centre for Knowledge Equity and the Centres’ inaugural Knowledge Equity Fellows, the convening will coalesce around the Skoll Centre’s 2021 Systems Reset theme, which has been examined in our Reimagine Podcast, the change ideas from Oxford MBA students in the Global Opportunities and Threats Oxford programme, and undergraduate and graduate students from 51 institutions around the world in our Map the System programme. The Systems Reset theme is focused on four grand challenges related to Covid-19 recovery, and the intersection of equity in all its forms across them:

  • Health Reset: In an age of pandemics, how can we build resilient health systems that deliver for all?
  • Climate Reset: As governments consider fiscal stimulus to reboot economies and business works to recover, how can we use this opportunity to achieve urgent climate goals?
  • Economic Reset: How can we build more inclusive and sustainable economies from the wreckage of the pandemic?
  • Social Reset: The pandemic demonstrated the precarity and possibilities of our social systems. What must we understand about our social systems to reimagine a new way forward?


The week will include a combination of written material, pre-recorded, and live sessions that explore concepts and ideas related to systems change, including: podcasts, performance art, curated actionable insights, a keynote, panel discussions, student presentations, and share and fail fairs. The week will culminate with the Map The System Global Final.

Guiding Principles

Our approach to this week takes into consideration the importance of convening a diverse set of actors, including both renowned and lesser-known system thinkers, and different forms of lived, learned and practiced expertise. We believe:

  • Collaboration between diverse systems actors can shift systems thinking and practice.
  • Diversity of thought and leadership unlocks innovation. We must take steps to address the history of systems change innovations of oppressed communities being co-opted by those who hold power. To address this risk, sessions should include diverse participants, in terms of identity, background, school of thought, role, sector, geography, and generation.
  • Knowledge equity will help elevate and transform the systems change field. Sessions should consider issues of equity and how discrimination in all its forms intersect with these themes and focus areas, with attention to knowledge equity – whose knowledge and experiences do we consider authoritative when understanding systems? Is the conversation being led by leaders with lived experience of the sharp end of the themes and focus areas? Elevating systems leaders with lived experience alongside other systems actors will stimulate innovation and collaboration.

Callout: Co-design a session with us

Are you a systems thinker who would like to co-design a Systems Week session?

We are looking for partners to co-create four sessions in each of the following formats:

Share Fairs

Live ‘show and tell’ sessions, where practitioners share their experiences, tools and resources to understand and measure, teach, lead, and resource systems change. Each session should consider the journey – where did you start, what challenges did you have, where did you stumble, how did you recalibrate – and invite participants to engage and discuss their own experiences. We welcome innovative ideas to facilitate these exchanges – including e.g. fail fairs to openly reflect on what has not worked. 

Panel Discussions

Live discussions that bring together an educator, researcher, and practitioner/systems actor to examine societal challenges that align with our focus on reimagining health, economic, and climate systems as we contend with the impact of Covid-19 (e.g., understanding movements for vaccine equity in the context of broader global health movements; reimagining how we value the paid and unpaid care economy). Sessions should include ways to engage the broader virtual audience during the discussions (e.g., polls, quizzes, etc.)

If you are interested in co-designing a session with the Skoll Centre, please submit a short maximum two-page concept note with your idea, question(s) to discuss, format, proposed speakers or other contributors, and any access requirements. 

There are modest funds available to support the development of sessions (both Share Fairs and Panel Discussions). If you are requesting any funding support, please ensure your proposal clearly sets out these costs. Funding will be prioritised for sessions including systems thinkers and practitioners with direct first-hand experience of unjust systems (lived experience leaders).

Session proposals due: 27 April 2021