Russell Ackoff, an influential system scholar, reminded us that efforts towards solving problems have often proven ineffective when they do not change the system that keeps recreating the same problems. Effective interventions in social problems may thus require a shift from creating ‘solutions’ to reconfiguring the system in which the problem is embedded.

In our research, we study how organizations alone or as part of collaborative efforts can engage with and understand systems, and help those systems discover legitimate and effective pathways for change.

Read more about our Research Vision for exploring the nexus of organizations, problems, and systems:

Problem/System Graphic

The following are recent publications on system change by GIIL.


Changing Systems? Welcome to the Slow Movement

Dec 2020
Seelos, C. 2020. Stanford Social Innovation Review (Winter):40-47.

Research Paper

Scaffolding: A Process of Transforming Patterns of Inequality in Small-Scale Societies.

Dec 2019
Mair, J., Wolf, M., & Seelos, C. 2016. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6): 2021-2044.

Research Paper

Building Inclusive Markets in Rural Bangladesh: How Intermediaries Work Institutional Voids.

Dec 2019
Mair, J., Martí, I., & Ventresca, M. J. 2012. Academy of Management Journal, 55(4): 819-850.


Mastering System Change

Oct 2018
Seelos, C., & Mair, J. 2018. Stanford Social Innovation Review(Fall):35-41.