Grand Challenge Upward Spiral

Many elements are involved in tackling Grand Challenges – big, bold initiatives that take on some of the wickedest problems that society is facing. In my work on Grand Challenges and significant change initiatives, I draw on several models (both my own and those developed by others). To help organize each of those critical elements, I’ve created the Grand Challenge Upward Spiral (pictured in the video above).

The spiral relies on eleven elements to successfully execute a Grand Challenge. 

  1. Events
  2. Creating a Social Movement
  3. Collective Impact
  4. Frame and Build the Case
  5. Design Studio
  6. Strategic Foresight
  7. Gather Allies
  8. Design Summit
  9. Grand Challenge Systems
  10. Implement the Plan
  11. Ecosystem Activation

Following the Grand Challenge Upward Spiral does not necessarily lead to a neat and happy ending with no loose ends. What it does is create an impactful initiative with the ability to change the landscape and evolve issues facing us today. 

Watch the video above to get a peek at each of the 11 elements and learn:

  • The role events play in Grand Challenges
  • The importance of social engagement (HINT: reliance on your network is a central theme in over 1/3 of the elements)
  • The need to frame your initiative as a crisis and communicate its implications
  • How work done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) factors into the success of a Grand Challenge
  • How the 10 Key Elements of a Social Movement, developed by a research team led by Dr. Christina Economos, are woven into the fabric of Grand Challenges.

Click here to download an outline of the spiral. Or take a deeper dive with additional videos here. Watch one or all and think about how you can use the elements to propel your next initiative forward. 

Email me to schedule a call if you want more information on executing a Grand Challenge, significant change initiative, or other social movements. 

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