Tackling racism in society is a complex social problem which requires a variety of different tactics that can reflect or challenge the continual changes in societal, cultural and political attitudes.

RENS is working with the internationally recognised and award winning Wicked Lab, one of many organisations that “recognise the need for an ecosystem approach to ‘wicked’ or complex social problems”. Wicked Lab developed a ‘Tool for Systemic Change’ – a digital platform that is currently being used by major organisations and government institutions, and which we have also adopted for use locally.

We began working with Wicked Lab during the UK Government Funded Weston Community Hubs project, which RENS was commissisoned to deliver by North Somerset Council.

Our project was specifically designed to address some of the issues that RENS and other small community and voluntary sector organisations were experiencing in relation to information distribution and knowledge equity, leading to duplication of effort, competition rather than collaboration, frustration and low trust levels. In particular, it aimed to explore a way of new way of mapping and coordinating transformational action in a transparent way across multiple sectors, agencies and organisations.

Participants included representatives from local government, health, and community and voluntary sector organisations and the software was used by participants to explore a range of issues.

RENS focus was on developing an Anti-Racism Strategy for Weston and the resulting work formed the basis of the Time for Change project white paper, which was presented as one of the two innovation plans required for the funded project

The white paper concluded that using Wicked Lab’s Tool for Systemic Change as a framework to inform cross-sector and community discussions had highlighted a number of critically important areas, particularly in terms of the Community/Council interface. Overall, the positive effects of using the Tool, even over a relatively short period of time, proved so significant that RENS has committed to continuing to use the Tool to structure ongoing work.

Moving forward the intention is to use the Tool to provide a framework that structures RENS core activities and strategic partnerships and helps develop effective and sustainable collaborations. In particular, the intention is to use the Tool to help design initiatives, shape meeting agendas, monitor progress and identify gaps.


The initiatives listed reflect RENS three key pillars for Taking Action.

Each inititiative is mapped against against intervention characteristics. Grounded in rigorous academic complex systems theory, there are 36 characteristics grouped within 3 categories and 9 focus areas. Further information about the characteristics is available in Time for Change: Developing an Anti-Racism Strategy for Weston.

The embedded image below provides an overview, and can be scrolled horizontally and vertically in the frame. If you are interested in exploring further, please do get in touch.


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