Learning Festival 2023

This event has passed

Thank you for a wonderful Learning Festival 2023!

A brief moment has passed since we gathered for the Systems Innovation Learning Partnership’s Learning Festival 23’. What lingers with us is the strengthened realisation that we must find transformation within, whether it is as an individual or as an organisation. That we need to take a much more human approach when building our individual and our organisation’s capacities for collaboration, navigating complexity and making sense of the world around us. In poet Awa Ndiaye’s words:

Our bones

long to take us back

to the dirt where it all started

to the place where we are whole again

where we realize

the world was never broken

but that we

were just looking at it

through a broken self.

As attested to during the festival, we, as learning practitioners, are eager to work together and share experiences. However, the transactional nature of the systems we habit too often restricts us from doing so in a meaningful way. The learning partnership is our vehicle, our attempt, to make our own ways of collaboration more relational, rather than transactional.

In this spirit, we would love to share with you our interpretation and synthesis of what sprouted in conversations between us. Wheels of evolving practice, we have called them. You will find three sets of action principles with explorative questions linked to them, connected to the subjects of the three days of the festival – coming together, orienting the messy middle, and challenging the way we understand impact. We hope that you might find it useful to bring these with to reflect with yourself, your team, your community.

As a continuation of practice and learning together we would also love to invite you to a series of conversation spaces, or Deep Dives, we have planned for the late summer and fall:

17.08. – Communities of Practice, Purpose, Place. Building communities, acting as communities, communities as a core leadership skill of the future. Add to calendar.

07.09 – New narratives and visioning: Social arts in systemic interventions Add to calendar.

12.10. –- Rethinking funding institutions towards being fit for purpose Add to calendar.

16.11. –- Governance in the Messy Middle, Confusion and Crisis Add to calendar.

14.12 – Collaboration with unusual Stakeholders: City, Water, Land Add to calendar.


More information around these sessions will be published soon on our website.

Reach out on silp@climate-kic.org if you would like to explore and co-create with us beyond our offer. 

About SILP Learning Festival 2023

‘Systems change now’ has become a slogan of our time – whether it’s the ever-growing urgency of the climate emergency, growing inequalities worldwide or the need for new ways of thinking, all these issues will only be transformed through radical changes to their systems.

But systems change and systems innovation work takes building different capabilities, ones that can support working in uncertainty and complexity. We need to be learning at a rapid pace, from and within organisations, learning to measure impact differently and embracing experimental ways of working.

How can we create space for these spaces to thrive in order for us to tackle the biggest issues of our time?

The Learning Festival by the Systems Innovation Learning Partnership is an annual opportunity to explore the cutting edge of systems innovation and learning, bringing together diverse organisations in a participatory space to discuss and challenge each other on these issues.

Our online learning sessions took place daily across Wednesday 7 June, Thursday 8 June and Friday 9 June from 10.00 to 12.30 (CET). Each day will:

  • begin with a collective landing and offer from a guest poet
  • feature an in-depth explorative conversation of the the daily topic by our session contributors (more info below)
  • round off with a participatory hour of reflecting on and engaging with the topic in practice.

The partnership, supported by EIT Climate-KIC and Sida, has been working over the past two years to collaborate, experiment, learn and share ideas to help activate innovation across whole systems. 

Wednesday 7 June 10.00 - 12.30 CET: Coming together
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Join us to learn about organisations working together in deeply collaborative processes around systems thinking and systems innovation. How can organisations learn, support and practice together for greater transformative potential? We will dive into the emerging practices of cross-organisational collaborative learning and the deeply useful challenges it brings in supporting positive change. Contributors are:

Thursday 8 June 10.00 - 12.30 CET: The Messy Middle
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We will explore how organisations and their people have moved into the practice of systems thinking and systems innovation. What is this change process like in practice? How does one really bridge old practices with the new? Contributors will share their experiences from their own contexts, sharing both the challenges and transformative potential of bringing systemic approaches into the organisational setting.  Contributors are: 

  • Ceaser Kimbugwe, Head of Programmes, WaterAid Uganda
  • Mariana Mirabile, Economist, OECD
  • Luong Nguyen, Head of Solutions Mapping, Accelerator Lab, UNDP
  • Emma Proud, Independent Consultant
  • Larissa Setaro, Senior Project Manager – Climate Change, IIED
  • Awa Madiage, Poet

Friday 9 June 10.00 - 12.30 CET: Impact
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How we define impact has a tremendous effect on the allocation of resources. Striving for system level change calls for radically new ways of defining and measuring impact, despite many funders still requiring reporting against traditional indicators and KPIs. How can both funders and funding recipients navigate this tension, and create more space for innovative approaches that actually measure transformative impact? And what can funders do to pave the way for radical shifts to more inclusive ways to what is considered impact, and what we choose to measure and evaluate? Contributors are:


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