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Open Society Foundations

Social Impact

Using design and systems thinking to advance legal empowerment

Open Society FoundationsOpen Society Foundations
“Legal empowerment practitioners face big systemic challenges and need to work hand-in-hand with communities to design bottom-up solutions to complex problems. Together with Daylight Design, we were able to develop an approach that is specifically tailored to their reality on the ground and to convey it in an engaging and accessible guide that will help them to be even more effective and achieve greater impact.”
– Matthew Burnett, Co-Author
Introduction

An innovation handbook for Legal Empowerment teams

Legal Empowerment is one of the most complex and multi-faceted fields in the social impact arena. Legal Empowerment teams around the world work tirelessly to ensure that underserved communities know their rights, are in a position to use the law and to ideally effect positive change in legislation. They will help those communities fight illegal evictions, battle exploitative employers, or stand up for the rights of sex workers or HIV patients.

This vital work is both deeply human-centered and systemic at the same time. Teams doing this work can greatly benefit from tools that help them address such multifaceted challenges.

For this reason, Open Society Foundations’ ‘Legal Empowerment’ group and Daylight teamed up to jointly conceptualize, write and design an innovation handbook specifically for Legal Empowerment teams that provides both human-centered and systems thinking tools, processes and mindsets.

IntroductionIntroduction
Strategy

Fusing Systems Thinking and Design Thinking for best results

The methodology laid out in the handbook is tailored to social impact challenges. It reflects both the need to proceed in a way that is highly participatory and based on human needs, as well as the systemic approach needed to bridge the gap between one-off successes and overall legislative progress.

This handbook marries two innovation approaches and fuses them into one, bringing together Systems Thinking and Participatory Design (a version of Design Thinking particularly suitable for social impact work).

Prior to our rebrand work, the San Francisco Health Network's messaging placed emphasis on the providers and the system. The Network described itself as the City’s “only complete system of care.” The Network logo was an icon of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Through our work, we wanted to shift focus from describing the system to communicating the value added for the patient. We sought to:

  1. Publicly reaffirm San Francisco’s commitment to accessible health care for all of its residents, regardless of immigration status or insurance;
  2. Create a unifying brand that resonated deeply with patients and staff; and
  3. Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
StrategyStrategy
Strategy
Strategy
Content Design

A book that is powerful, beautiful and free to download

OSF’s Matthew Burnett and Daylight’s Pascal Soboll have teamed up to write a step-by-step guide, enabling teams to set up and facilitate Legal Empowerment projects in a way that not only involve, but put into the driver’s seat, members of the affected communities.

It also guides teams in zooming out to understand the challenge on a systemic level and then to dive into the details to ensure that they spend their efforts on the most effective points of leverage.

Real-world case studies from OSF’s vast repertoire of experience bring the material to life and illustrate how teams have successfully applied aspects of this methodology in the past.

Prior to our rebrand work, the San Francisco Health Network's messaging placed emphasis on the providers and the system. The Network described itself as the City’s “only complete system of care.” The Network logo was an icon of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Through our work, we wanted to shift focus from describing the system to communicating the value added for the patient. We sought to:

  1. Publicly reaffirm San Francisco’s commitment to accessible health care for all of its residents, regardless of immigration status or insurance;
  2. Create a unifying brand that resonated deeply with patients and staff; and
  3. Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
Content DesignContent Design
Content Design
Case studies illustrating real-world examples from Legal Empowerment teams around the world
Content Design
Step-by-step guide to creating ‘causality loops’, representing cause and effect within a system
Impact

Available to download from OSF

OSF has launched the digital book and made it available to download here. We recommend it to anyone interested in how to best tackle complex social impact innovation challenges.

Prior to our rebrand work, the San Francisco Health Network's messaging placed emphasis on the providers and the system. The Network described itself as the City’s “only complete system of care.” The Network logo was an icon of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Through our work, we wanted to shift focus from describing the system to communicating the value added for the patient. We sought to:

  • Publicly reaffirm San Francisco’s commitment to accessible health care for all of its residents, regardless of immigration status or insurance;
  • Create a unifying brand that resonated deeply with patients and staff; and
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
  • Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
ImpactImpact
Impact
Impact

Prior to our rebrand work, the San Francisco Health Network's messaging placed emphasis on the providers and the system. The Network described itself as the City’s “only complete system of care.” The Network logo was an icon of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Through our work, we wanted to shift focus from describing the system to communicating the value added for the patient. We sought to:

  1. Publicly reaffirm San Francisco’s commitment to accessible health care for all of its residents, regardless of immigration status or insurance;
  2. Create a unifying brand that resonated deeply with patients and staff; and
  3. Give staff desperately needed tools to clearly and consistently describe the Network, its values, and its services.
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Social Impact