Creating The Space to Lead Change: An Independent Analysis of the Change Foundation’s Journey on the Frontline of Healthcare Transitions

Cover of Report: Creating the Space to Lead Change Download "Creating the Space to Lead Change"

The Change Foundation (TCF) made a bold decision to make a significant investment in one system change initiative in a healthcare transitions environment.

This instructive, 23-page case study reviews the early process of getting to, and moving on The Change Foundation’s ground-breaking Northumberland PATH projectThe two-year, $3-million PATH project is the Foundation’s largest and most ambitious to date.  Through Project PATH, the Foundation has committed to engaging and supporting a community coalition of cross-sector providers and patients and caregivers to co-design how care is delivered, addressing healthcare transition problems that they identify for improvement.

Marc Langlois, a social innovator and evaluation consultant offers keen, objective reflections on the think tank’s unique balancing act of being a funder embedded inside a change project; thus offering valuable insight to other foundations, organizations contemplating similar “disruptive” work.  That is, (as a funder), striking the right balance of being hands off and letting the local project team lead to find unique solutions, while also overseeing and intervening for best results. The case study is based on six key informant interviews and document reviews. The key informants were selected from the Foundation’s staff, the PATH convening organization, a citizen advocate involved in the project, and a Fairness Advisor contracted to oversee the PATH community selection process. Based on themes discussed during the interviews, specific PATH project-related documents were reviewed to verify and clarify information.  In addition, evidence and perspectives from peer reviewed journals were reviewed to place the article in the context of the philanthropy sector and change management field.

Using an “Open Systems Theory” filter, Langlois explores the Foundation’s experience with creating space to learn, plan and act within its own organization and within its support of the PATH project.  Langlois articulates themes that defined The Change Foundation’s principle-based leadership during the early stages of the PATH project.  Langlois notes that as in most comprehensive collaborations, PATH’s potential was in its collective power that brought together diverse community stakeholders around shared ideals and principles to be a true change catalyst.

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