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How to Influence the Way People Think to Change How Society Works

Powerful Tools for Scaling Impact in Any Sector


The newest addition to our library of materials on systems change for social entrepreneurs, complementing the online courses on basics of systems thinking and working with government.

Together We Will Explore

  • How to identify mental models behind a social or environmental problem;
  • How to trace their roots and journey to people’s psyche;
  • How to develop alternative mental models that would get to people as effectively;
  • How to deploy new mental models by constructing a new narrative environment;
  • And how to ultimately channel new ways of thinking into changing the systemic structures that perpetuate the problem.
weekly video modules with the total of 3 hour guidance and inspiring examples.
case studies of shifting mental models about domestic workers, smoking tobacco and food waste.
playbook with prompts and frameworks to apply to your case and a rich library of additional resources.
podcast season with real-life practitioners

Why have we created this course?

Mental models are deeply embedded ideas and schemas in people’s heads about how things work or should work in the world. They could be compared to lenses which, when worn, project a picture of the world with some peculiarities — for example, certain groups of people in a system becoming invisible in the eyes of the broader public, or their contribution to the smooth functioning of a system appearing distorted or less significant than it is in reality, or important connections between elements in a system being muted or kept completely out of sight.

The ways of thinking shared across large parts of society play a critical role in establishing and maintaining systemic structures that manifest mental models in very tangible terms. Influencing the way people think, thus, has an effect on whether business as usual in a system is maintained or challenged. A new mental model adopted across some parts of society can provide the basis for contesting the existing order of things and power relations and can fuel the development of broad social movements which can shift systemic structures.

You can listen more in detail to why we have created this course in our Ashoka Systems Change Podcast: Season 3 Episode 1