The Systems Change Research Lab



The Systems Change Research Lab is the knowledge research and development lab of the Ashoka Globalizer founded in 2018. We distill the wisdom of advanced social entrepreneurs on changing systems and create open knowledge products available to changemakers all over the world. Everyone can find a suitable format for themselves - be it an animated online course, case study, report, article or a podcast.

We derive our knowledge products from the insights and emerging patterns from the work of social entrepreneurs in our accelerator and broader Ashoka network. 

Our priority is to make the learning process well-structured, fun, free and accessible for anybody in the world. 

Thousands of changemakers across the citizen sector, companies, and governments are already using this knowledge to improve systems in Northern and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. 




Research Lab Globalizer

How to orient in our knowledge products

Social Entrepreneur

New to the field

If you are new to the topic of systems change, and want to get a first glimpse at the tools we are using with our social entrepreneurs, have a look at this short animated online course on systems change.

Social Entrepreneur

Changemaker wanting to increase the positive impact of their work

If you are already on your changemaker journey and you are curious how you can increase the positive impact of your work, we invite you to take a deep dive into the following topics:

Systems Change - how to identify root causes of social and environmental problems, how to see systems behind root causes, how to map systems, define targeted systems changes and leverage points to achieve them.

Mindset Shift as a pre-requisite for a long-lasting systems change

Working with Government as one of the most frequented pathways to achieve systems change among social entrepreneurs

Support to SE

Supporter of changemakers

If you are a funder or a support organization for changemakers interested in increasing the social impact of the organizations you support, you might be interested in:

Our report on how to fund systems change "Embracing complexity"

Taking our online courses to your communities. All our materials are freely accessible. You can take them to your audiences and be the one who initiates and facilitates learning for them. If you need help with that, reach out to us!

Peer community and learning opportunities for yourselve. Have a look at "Investors in Change", a digital peer-learning seminar for donors who are interested in systems change which we co-initiated.



If you are part of a government entity and are curious to explore how social entrepreneurs can be of help to you in addressing social and environmental problems, we invite you to explore:

Our report "New Allies" showing how social entrepreneurs can become eye-level partners in addressing social and environmental problems

Another report “From Small to Systemic” which helps governments understand the scale of resources that could be saved to societies if approaches of social entrepreneurs were adopted.

Our online course on working with government as a pathway to systems change with excellent case studies on precedents of successful cooperations between governments and social entrepreneurs across the world.

Learn with our online courses

The Systems Change Masterclass

Our first online course is "The Systems Change Masterclass". It will help you reflect on the foundations of your strategy. We start by analyzing systemic roots of the problem of your concern and then develop a detailed journey to systems change with specified milestones. ​

The course is based on the methodology of our Systems Change Strategy Accelerator, which has been developed, tested and refined since 2011. ​

This Masterclass has emerged as the most profound version of the course. But you might be curious to know that the course also exists in an animated introductory format for very beginners and a crash course for mid-stage social entrepreneurs. Thousands of people in Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia have already used these materials to improve their strategies.

Read more

Working with Government as a Pathway to Systems Change

Our second online course is “Working With Government As A Pathway To Systems Change”. It was born out of recognition that changemakers willing to achieve systems change sooner or later recognize own limitations in reaching the “full market” of constituencies who need support. Providing direct service to 500 or even 5000 people is impressive but often seems like a drop in the ocean when millions are still waiting for help in line. ​

Government is often a stakeholder which does have the infrastructure sufficient to reach large numbers of people but it might lack the innovation drive and risk appetite to develop and test new solutions and rules for the system. Changemakers and government can thus become mutually complementary partners in addressing problems.​

The course offers 8 case studies of social entrepreneurs working with government in a mode ranging from constructive cooperation to confrontation in court,  tactics to increase government counterpart’s awareness, willingness and capacity to work with you, and a sequence of prompts that will help you formulate your strategy of working with government.​

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

Our third and most recent online course explores “How to Influence the Way People Think to Change How Society Works”. It builds on the understanding that behind every social or environmental problem there is a certain mindset spread across large numbers of people. Achieving structural and legislative changes will not suffice if people don’t embrace the new way of thinking.​

The course helps identify existing mental models which fuel the problem of your concern, trace back how these mental models got to people’s psyche and offer tools to bring other, "more helpful", mental models to the forefront.  ​

We documented four case studies of social entrepreneurs who led the efforts to change how people perceive smoking, food waste, domestic workers, and education, and offer you a sequence of prompts that help design a strategy to influence the way people think.​

Read more

Learn from our real life case studies on changing mindsets

Find more cases, for instance on digital literacy in Korea and child sexual abuse in Nigeria, discussed in our podcast

From an invisible problem to the issue of concern and action of the broader public. Explore the story of the movement aiming to eliminate food waste and transform the global food system.

Watch the video below or read the pdf version.  

From Emancipation Tool to Deadly Addiction. Learn about how the tobacco control movement in the US managed to change people's perception of smoking.

Watch the video below or read the pdf version

From invisible to those who make all other work possible. Learn about how the National Domestic Workers Alliance centered the conversation about domestic workers around the topic of care, relevant for most people in the country.

Towards a world where young people are changemakers. Learn about how the Ashoka Brazil team is building a movement to transform the education system in the country, so that schools become an environment that motivates and supports young people to contribute to solving problems for the good of all.

Learn from our real life case studies on working with government

Klára Laurenčíková working in the field of inclusive education in the Czech Republic 

Denis Mizne working in the field of disarmament in Brazil 

Dorica Dan working to improve the system of care for people with rare diseases in Romania 

Biplab Paul improving the access to irrigation water for farmers in India and across the Global South 

Andras Vamos-Goldman working to strengthen the international investigation system of crimes against humanity 

Flaviano Bianchini supporting communities across the world to protect their rights for a healthy environment 

Johannes Lindner working to advance entrepreneurship education in Austria 

Amitay Korn working to enable access to citizens' rights for diverse population groups in Israel.

Listen to our systems change podcast

Welcome to our Ashoka Systems Change Podcast.

Our podcast was launched in 2020 to feature leading social entrepreneurs with demonstrated systemic impact and focuses on their experiences and key learnings.

We hope to produce more seasons on new topics around systems change in the future. If you are interested in funding or partnering for a new season, feel free to reach out to us.



Season 1

Exploring how experienced social entrepreneurs - Jordan Kassalow, Jeroo Billimoria, Michael Sani, Kendis Peris and Silvia Bastante (as a supporter to social entrepreneurs at Co-Impact), use systems change approaches in their work. It was produced in partnership between Fergal Byrne, the host of the well-known Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs podcast, and Odin Muehlenbein, partner at Ashoka Germany and co-lead of the Systems Unit at Ashoka Globalizer.​

Complement listening to the first season with reading the “Systemic and Empowering” report featuring five case studies of social entrepreneurs working to improve systems.


Season 2

Season 2 explores how social entrepreneurs can effectively work with governments to improve systems together. It is co-hosted by Sascha Haselmayer, a seasoned social entrepreneur and an Ashoka Fellow who has worked with 135 municipal governments across the world to improve the provision of public services, and Olga Shirobokova, co-lead of the Systems Unit at Ashoka Globalizer.​

The 2nd podcast season complements the free online course for social entrepreneurs on "Working with Government" that Ashoka launched in fall 2020.


Season 3

Season 3 explores how social entrepreneurs can effectively influence the way people think in order to change how society works. It is based on our brand-new online course materials (see below). It is hosted by Nadine Freeman, Co-Director at Ashoka Globalizer. 

The 3rd podcast season complements the free online course for social entrepreneurs on "How to influence the way people think to change how society works" that Ashoka launched in fall 2022.

Read our reports


If you are a Funder, this report can help you understand how you can better support systems change endeavors.


This report helps governments understand who social entrepreneurs are and how they can be partners in solving social and environmental problems.


This report helps governments and foundations understand the scale of resources that can be saved to societies if approaches of social entrepreneurs are adopted.


This report addresses legitimate concerns around power, equity, the role of the state in philanthropy and shows five real examples of social entrepreneurs who base their work on accountability and legitimacy.


If you consider yourself with considerable wealth and a general ability to influence social, business, and political circles, typically entrepreneurs, founders or CEOs of companies, this report helps you understand how to make a significant contribution to building a better future.


This report unveils learnings and patterns of platforms for the good of all- a holistic model that creates impact by facilitating exchanges of value between two or more interdependent groups.

The people behind the research lab