Adopt-Adapt-Expand-Respond: A Framework for Managing and Measuring Systemic Change Processes

  • Date Posted: October 6, 2021
  • Authors: Daniel Nippard, Rob Hitchins, David Elliott
  • Organizations/Projects: The Springfield Centre for Business in Development

As definitions have begun to emerge for the term "systemic change," it has become clear that aid programs also need a means to understand exactly when system-level outputs have become "systemic changes" and subsequently, a framework or tool to guide and improve both intervention strategy decision-making and the monitoring of program progress towards achieving changes of this nature — i.e., is the intervention having the desired effect, are adjustments needed, should partnership A or B be terminated, when is the program's facilitation task over? The systemic change framework was developed in response to these two-fold management and measurement needs.

With the intent of promoting greater precision and some degree of commonality in how practitioners and funders understand and how programs operationalize "systemic change," this briefing paper formally introduces the Adopt-Adapt-Expand-Respond (AAER) framework.