No One is an Island: Foundational Elements for Multi-Sector Transformational Change


  • Marty Jacobs Saybrook University


transformational change, dialogue, multi-sector, transformative learning, system mapping, reflective practice, social systems design, change readiness


Large-scale social change is becoming inevitable in the public and nonprofit sectors, yet the literature and models addressing this need are lacking. To address this gap, the author introduced a model for multi-sector transformational change called the Emerging Systems Transformational Change Model (ESTCM) in 2016. This paper gives an overview of the model and then explores in detail the five critical processes that create the foundation for an effective multi-sector transformational change effort. These processes are developing readiness for change, relationship building, mapping the system, designing social systems, and establishing a reflective practice.

Author Biography

Marty Jacobs, Saybrook University

Marty Jacobs is currently a doctoral student in Organizational Systems at Saybrook University. Her research interests are in transformative and organizational learning in multi-sector transformational change, as well as complex adaptive systems and system sciences. She has been teaching and consulting for twenty years, applying a systems thinking approach to organizations. Marty has served on a variety of nonprofit, professional, and school boards over the past twenty years and has also written for The OD Practitioner, The Systems Thinker, Vermont Business Magazine, American School Board Journal, Leverage Points Blog, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, and Confident Voices for Nurses on topics related to organizational learning, leadership, systems thinking, workplace culture, board governance, and community engagement.