"A truly helpful exercise for those who are actually scaling and those who are looking to scale. It allows entrepreneurs to do what they should, think about the future."

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Abu Musuuza
Co-founder, Board Chair Village Energy
Abubaker Musuuza

Ashoka Fellow Michael Sani worked with others to create 40x more impact after implementing a systems change strategy that came out of taking this masterclass in-person. 

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Michael Sani
Founder Bite the Ballot
michael sani

"The course let us build a profound understanding about the root causes of the problem and not only work on the symptoms. Taking the time and reflecting is the prerequisite for working on the right issues."

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Julia Kleeberger
Co-founder & managing director of Junge Tüftler*innen

80% of participants at the in-person version of this course have reported changing their models to maximize their social impact.

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course participant

"I really enjoyed real life cases and examples to demonstrate that dramatic change is feasible and that it all starts with simple ideas, step by step. It gives me hope and motivation to keep going."

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Mauricio Graciano
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Course Description

Ashoka’s Systems Change Masterclass teaches essential skills for leading and problem solving amidst increasing complexity. It is applicable to any sector and can be applied no matter what stage you are in - whether idea stage or established, entrepreneur or employee, team member or team lead. You will practice using powerful tools developed through Ashoka’s decades of experience running in-person accelerators with leading social entrepreneurs and business leaders. Case studies of social entrepreneurs featured include:

  • Albina Ruiz | Economic Development (Waste Management) | Latin America (Peru) 
  • Muzalema Mwanza | Health (Natal Care) | Africa (Zambia) 
  • Suresh Kumar | Health (Pallitive Care) | India
  • Joseph Nkandu | Economic Development (Farming) | Africa (Uganda) 
  • Nicole Rycroft | Environment (Fashion Supply Chain) | Austria, Global | 750+ company partnerships

Course Syllabus

Module 0: Introduction to the Masterclass

  • Video: Introduction to the Systems Change Masterclass
  • Additional Resources:
    • The Ashoka Globalizer Program
    • The Ashoka Europe Fellowship Program

Module 1: Learn What Systems Change is and Why it Matters

  • Video: Key concepts of systems change and our methodology
  • Activity: The Impact Spectrum- Three Levels of Impact
  • Readings:
    • The (business) case for systems change
    • Rethinking the Impact Spectrum
  • Podcast: Key questions at the heart of systems change
  • Additional Resources
    • Video- Financing Change: Collaborative approaches to Philanthropy
    • Video- Reclaiming Social Entrepreneurship
    • Interviews with Ashoka Fellows on their systems change approaches

Module 2: Analyse Your Systemic Root Causes

  • Video: Analysing the big problem
  • Activities:
    • Problem Tree Exercise
    • Vision and System

Module 3: Find your Targeted Systems Change Goal

  • Video: Clarifying the system change one wants to achieve
  • Activities:
    • The 5R Framework
    • Targeted Systems Change Statement
  • Readings:
    • Learn more about the 5R Framework
    • The power of leverage points
    • What it means to shift the conditions of change
    • The power of smaller, more targeted changes
    • To address the topic of unintended consequences

Module 4: Tell the Story of your Systems Change Strategy

  • Video: Drafting a Systems Change Story
  • Activity: Systems Change Story Exercise

Module 5: Tell the Story of your Systems Change Strategy

  • Video: Fine-tuning a Systems Change Story
  • Activity: Systems Change Story Exercise
  • Additional Resources:
    • Deep dive into Delivery and Replication of Solutions
    • Deep dive into working with Governments
    • Deep dive into Societal Platforms
  • Podcast: Social entrepreneurship and policy changes
  • Additional Resources: Examples of Social Entrepreneurs

Module 6: Rethink Partnerships

  • Video: Collaborative Action for Systems Change
  • Activities:
    • Stakeholder Exercise
    • Smart Network Exercise
  • Readings:
    • Collaboration Framework
    • Stakeholder Types
  • Podcast: Partnerships in systems change
  • Additional Resource: Case Studies of Ashoka Fellows

Module 7: Reflect on Leadership Qualities for Systems Change

  • Video: The personal side of systemic work
  • Activities:
    • Identifying the Changemaking Potential in others
    • The Let Go Radar
    • Empathy and Deep Listening
    • Listening Check-In
    • Wellbeing
    • Leadership Game PlanReading: Leadership Qualities
  • Readings:
    • Wellbeing and Social Change
    • Wellbeing and Changemakers
  • Additional Resources:
    • The Wellbeing Toolkit
    • Recipes for Wellbeing
    • Interviews with advanced social entrepreneurs
  • Podcast: Evolving roles of a social entrepreneur in collaboration

Module 8: Explore Funding Options

  • Video: Funding in the Context of Systems Change
  • Activity: Reflection Exercise
  • Readings:
    • Social Investment Guide
    • Key Principles for funders
    • Key Steps for funders
    • The (business) case for Systems Change
  • Additional Resources: Social Investment Course
  • Podcast: An Ashoka Fellow discussing their experience with funding systems change

Module 9: Evaluate Systems Change

  • Video: Impact Measurement in the Context of Systems Change
  • Activity: Evaluating Systems Change Exercise
  • Additional Resources:
    • The Ashoka Impact Metrics
    • The Ashoka Impact Framework

Final Assignment: Strategy Deck Template - Fully Designed

Utilizing the worksheets filled out in each of the prevoius modules, you will be able to access and customize a systems change strategy deck within a pre-designed template. This deck can be used to mobilize a broader audience towards your shared vision and build a network of allies that can achieve the targeted systems change goal you identified or refined through this course.

Contact Us

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Contact us at [email protected]


The Ashoka Systems Change Masterclass 1.0, created by Ada Andreoni, Michela Fenech, Nadine Freeman, Odin Mühlenbein, Reem Rahman, Florentine Roth, Florian Rutsch, Giulia Sergi, Olga Shirobokova is licensed under an Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license (CC BY-SA 40). This course is based on the Ashoka Globalizer Toolkit by Odin Mühlenbein and Olga Shirobokova.

We thank all Ashoka Fellows, whose systems changing innovations and feedback inspired the insights and frameworks for this course. We also thank the Ashoka Globalizer, Ashoka Europe Fellowship, and Ashoka Latin America teams for their support.

Case Study: Ashoka Fellow, Albina Ruiz, Ciudad Saludable​
Course Production: Reem Rahman​​
Art Direction and Illustration: Fargo Circle Studio​
Video Editing: MPWR Productions​
Animation, Slides Design, and Workbook Design: Pallavi Agarwala​
Case Study Production: Linda Peia, Florentine Roth, Louisa Konchellah​
User Experience: Arpan Chokshi, Florentine Roth, Maggie Lemere​
Images: Ciudad Saludable, PeaceFirst​