Behaving like a System?

Following on in our series on Collaboration Readiness, we have launched a new report Behaving Like a System? on the preconditions for place-based systems change.

Funded by the Lankelly Chase Foundation, this piece of work set out to explore the preconditions for systems change in a place. It unpicks the critical behaviours and vision that makes system change more likely, more deliverable and more sustainable. In doing so it addresses a critical gap in the thinking and practice of system change – the need to systematically build readiness to work towards outcomes in more collaborative ways.

Our research is grounded in Coventry but the preconditions have much wider resonance: both geographically and for different services. This is why we have developed both a short, action focused report as well as a full report which has more detail on each of the preconditions together with three case studies from Coventry.

Read our report to find out more about:

  • Nine preconditions for systems change (focusing on vision and behaviours)
  • What these preconditions look like to people when they do (and don’t) exist
  • Ways in which places might use these preconditions to support place-based system change

We have found that these preconditions, now identified, are starting to act as a convening narrative; enabling people and organisations in a place to have an honest conversation about what really needs to be done together to enable individuals to flourish within a system of services. Developing this approach across service areas and into the granular challenges of delivery could not be more critical at a time of acute spending cuts and sustained social demand.

Click here to read the summary report.

Click here to read the full report.

For further information about this research, please contact Sarah Billiald ( or La Toyah McAllister-Jones (



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Collaborate is an independent social business supporting cross sector collaboration in services to the public. We are a ‘shared space’ specialising in creative thinking, changing culture and supporting innovative practice. We work with individuals, organisations and systems who want to collaborate to achieve better outcomes for citizens.

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