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An Approach to Theory of Change 4.0.

By Íñigo Retolaza

The starting questions


How does the change happen? What conditions do we believe should be met? How can we contribute? Who do we have to work with to achieve this? What makes us think that our initiative can make a significant contribution to this change?

These are questions that any organization promoting social change asks when designing and managing initiatives aimed at improving the living conditions of the people it works for. In this training we will delve into them through the Theory of Change 4.0, a comprehensive methodology that combines the social dimension with the organizational and personal.

What is a 4.0 Theory of Change?

There are different ways to understand and design a Theory of Change aimed at social change initiatives. We will use a comprehensive and transformative approach based on systemic-complex thinking that we call Theory of Change 4.0. This comprehensive approach helps us to develop skills to better understand and manage the complex reality in which we find ourselves.

The Change Theory 4.0 approach combines in a way
interdependent four components of change.

- The 4 dimensions of change
- The 4 questions of change
- The 4 organizational ways
- The 4 personal meta-skills

"Theory of Change is a continuous process of reflection with the aim of exploring change and how it happens; and what that means in terms of the role we play in a context,
sector or group in particular. "

Cathy James.

"Every program is full of beliefs, assumptions and assumptions about how change occurs - how humans work, or how
organizations, or political systems, or ecosystems. The Theory of Change tries to
articulate all these different assumptions
on how the change in a program will occur.

Patricia Rogers.

"A thought-action approach to navigating the complexity of social change processes. A semi-structured map of change that links our strategic actions to certain outcomes that we want to bring about in our immediate environment."

Iñigo Retolaza.

The 4 dimensions of change


In the training process we will explore how the four dimensions of change are interdependently articulated: the personal, the interpersonal, the cultural and the structural.


What dimensions of change are we considering in our interventions?

Which ones are we marginalizing and why?

How do they affect the desired change?

How can we complement them better?

The 4 questions of change


When designing, monitoring and / or evaluating a social change initiative, it is necessary to collectively explore a series of questions that will help us improve the impact of the initiative and the relationship with the people and organizations involved. In addition to these four fundamental questions, in the course we will explore some more, following the methodological steps needed to design a Theory of Change.

What conditions must be met to achieve the desired change?

How can we contribute?

Who, and how, should we relate to?

What makes us think that our intervention is the right one?

The 4 organizational ways


We often assume that, as our organization operates today, we will be able to contribute significantly to the conditions necessary to achieve the desired change. But is that true? Can we assume that our current organizational ways are necessary and appropriate to manage the challenge of engaging in these processes of change? Organizations that promote social change initiatives have the need to be open to change and impermanence, to constantly adapt to the dynamism of the ecosystem in which they operate. In our training we will explore four fundamental ways that will help us to better understand our organization, and to identify those changes that we need to make in it to operate from a systemic-complex logic.


The 4 personal meta-skills


Organizations, whether public, private or community, are made up of specific people. People who relate to their inner self, and to other people, from a certain condition. That is, what is the inner condition of the people who promote such initiatives? What personal meta-skills are needed to meet these types of challenges in a complex context? Throughout the intermodular training we will actively work on the development of a series of meta-skills necessary to better manage ourselves in this type of process: believing, flowing, creativity, resilience, "elderazgo", etc.

"The quality of the outcome of our initiative depends on the quality of the relationships, and the quality of the relationships depends on the inner condition of that person being related."

Íñigo Retolaza.

  • LinkedIn - Círculo Negro

More than 25 years of international experience in facilitating processes of personal support, organizational learning and social change between multiple actors immersed in contexts of conflict and high sociocultural diversity. He has a multidisciplinary academic background, and has worked on processes of social and organizational change in various countries and continents in indigenous peasant communities, marginalized social groups, NGOs and international donors, the UN, companies, social organizations, cooperatives and public entities.

He currently works as an international consultant accompanying individuals and organizations in processes of organizational and social change (consulting, advice, training). In the Basque Country, it also facilitates processes of multi-actor dialogue and public conversation (racism and discrimination, linguistic diversity and coexistence, education, the environment, human rights, the economy of peace, etc.), as well as citizen dialogues for the social construction of memory. and social healing.

He is a collaborator of the Gernika Gogoratuz Peace Research Center.

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