• Are you responsible for a large change programme with people at the heart?

  • Is it about changing or shifting a system?

  • Are you responsible for making sure it contributes to specific outcomes or a vision for change?

We have worked with several large-scale change programmes and initiatives to help them map out what change might look like on this scale and to think about how they will steer a system towards a change.

We have reviewed the literature on systems change and bring a strong understanding of what is needed to work well with systems and the levers of change that need to be considered.

We bring clarity and focus

Driving complex system change is difficult. With our knowledge and insights from similar programmes, we can help your team:

  • Gain a comprehensive perspective on the system and the change needed

  • Understand the wider factors that influence the same change

  • Understand and plan for the main change mechanisms

  • Plan for assessment so you can learn and improve.

For systems change work we recommend some or all of the following support services:

Outputs from this work can include shareable maps, reports, visuals and evidence plans.

Context mapping

We help you examine and create a shared understanding of the wider factors outwith your control that influence the same change and are likely to help and hinder your work. Such contextual factors include relational and individual components as well as material and societal drivers, including norms and predominant values.

Taking time to think and talk about context will help you:

  • identify key risks to your initiative or work
  • think through how risks can be mitigated and build on opportunities to improve or strengthen your initiative
  • establish reasonable expectations about what an initiative might achieve given the time and resources available and contextual opportunities and limitations.

To help you understand the context of your work, we use an adapted version of the evidence-based “ISM Framework” created by the Scottish Government.

‘Success story’ sessions

We support your team and stakeholders to share ways they have intervened in the system that seem to work – this can help to build up an understanding of the main change mechanisms that look promising for the work and forms the basis of the outcome mapping stage.

Outcome mapping sessions

Outcome mapping is fully a participatory process to understand and build a theory of change: linking activities to the change that you seek.

These sessions can include a wide range of stakeholders who can bring a perspective on the system and the change needed, or we can coordinate a round of consultation to ensure important perspectives are included.

The resulting outcome maps form the basis for assessment plans.

Assessment plans

Working together, we think about how change will be monitored and what combination of reflection, feedback and data is needed to understand change in order to learn, improve and keep the programme on track.

Software that holds it all together

OutNav is our secure, cloud-based software that provides a single place to hold your outcome maps and assessment plans, bringing together your data and evidence for ongoing learning, monitoring and improvement, with clear and professional reporting functions.

Some of our work with clients in this area

Making Children’s Rights Real

Since Scotland became the first devolved country in the world to choose to incorporate the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) into law in March 2021, many organisations have been considering and preparing the ground for the changes that this will bring.

To contribute to cohesion and readiness for these changes, we worked with the Observatory of Children’s Human Rights Scotland and Public Health Scotland to develop a theory of change for implementation, supported by the Scottish Government. The project involved a range of people invested in this work, including children and young people themselves, to collectively articulate how and why they think change will happen, creating a framework against which we can track progress towards outcomes.

If you’re on a larger screen, you can read more about the work in this summary generated from OutNav.

Scottish Government Technology Enabled Care Programme: Transforming Local Systems

The Transforming Local Systems Pathfinder Programme is supporting four partnership areas to redesign services with a focus on better use of technology. In the process the team piloted several pioneering approaches to programme management, service delivery and service design. We supported them to take a developmental approach to the evaluation of this work at three different levels to understand:

  • the work of the four pathfinder projects in their local context
  • the support provided by the Programme Team, and
  • the value of the approaches underpinning the programme, including the use of technology, the Scottish Approach to Service Design and the Programme Management approach.

Read more about this work

Edinburgh Voluntary Organisations’ Council

We are working with EVOC to develop an outcome map and high level evaluation strategy for the ten-year Regenerative Futures Fund for charities in Edinburgh to work towards ending Poverty and Net zero.


Engender is Scotland’s feminist policy and advocacy organisation. We supported them to map and develop a strategic overview of how their diverse projects and activity streams influence policy and make a difference to the realisation of women’s rights.

Explore more client stories and content from our knowledge hub