Systems Week 2021


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


Introduction to Systems Week 2021

Watch Systems Week


Thank you for joining us at Systems Week 2021! Recorded panel discussions, key concept and provocation videos are available to watch on-demand on the YouTube playlist.

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Convening a global community of systems thinkers

Virtual event that took place from 7-11 June 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated structural inequity throughout our global systems. Systems Week was 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 explored 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 coalesced 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?

Format of Systems Week 2021

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 Systems Week 2021 took 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.

Key concepts from Systems Week 2021

We welcome you to watch these three short videos from our esteemed colleagues and friends, introducing key concepts we will return to throughout the week.

Knowledge Equity for Systems Change


Baljeet Sandhu MBE - CEO of Centre for Knowledge Equity & Visiting Fellow

Systems Actors


Dr Paulo Savaget - Postdoctoral Researcher of Systems Change at Skoll Centre

Resourcing Systems Change


Derek Bardowell - CEO of Ten Years' Time & Knowledge Equity Fellow at Skoll Centre