The System exChange
The System exChange provides powerful tips and ideas for transforming your local community.
The last issue of the System exChange introduced Action Learning and provided a series of tools and resources. Click here to view past issues.

This week's System exChange builds on these ideas and highlights how to action learning can be embedded across the system to promote continuous improvement. 
Learning for Continuous Improvement:
Systemic Action Learning Structures
Too often, our typical group structures (e.g., everyone in one large group) leads to little learning and limited action. 

Many communities are instead moving to a Systemic Action Learning group structure that engages diverse stakeholders in “parallel and interacting” affinity teams.

Affinity teams are made up of individuals from the same system role (e.g. residents, direct service staff, or leaders) or who are focused on the same goal (e.g., housing, employment, transportation, system coordination, etc.).
Each team focuses on the same Shared Agenda priorities, but uses their unique perspective and role to design and implement actions to address those priorities.

Questions, ideas, and actions emerging from teams are then woven together into a cohesive change effort. While anyone can play this weaving role, many communities also create a central committee with the co-chairs of all affinity teams to promote real-time weaving and problem-solving (see image above). 
Case Example of Weaving 

An initiative focused on promoting health equity developed 3 affinity teams: direct service provider team, resident team, and leader team. Local Backbone organization staff facilitated team meetings and wove questions, learning, and action ideas between the teams. The following is an example of what this weaving looked like in practice.

Direct staff meeting: Staff talked about their frustrations with current policies making it difficult to share information with other organizations serving the same clients. They came up with the idea of creating a shared consent form, and wanted to get the leaders’ feedback on the idea.

Weaving to leader team meeting: Backbone staff brought the shared consent form idea up during the next leader team. The leaders supported the idea, and identified action steps for developing a draft shared consent form using examples from other counties. They were interested in getting the residents’ input on how to make the consent form language easy for residents to understand.

Resident team meeting: Once the shared consent form was drafted, the Backbone staff brought the form to the resident team meeting and they worked on editing the language to make it easier for families to understand.
Key processes for designing an initiative or meeting infrastructure to promote active engagement across diverse stakeholders.  
Facilitation tool to help integrate information and learning across groups both within and outside your initiative to promote a more cohesive change effort.  
If you find this publication useful, forward to your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe !

Want access to more information about community transformation? Check out the Michigan CHIR Learning website ! This website includes information, tools, and resources to help support local collaborative efforts.
April 2020
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