Systems Change Network


  • Peter Plastrik Innovation Network for Communities
  • Madeleine Beaubien Taylor Network Impact
  • John Cleveland Innovation Network for Communities


leadership, social innovation, networks, learners


This is an excerpt from Connect > Innovate > Scale Up: How Networks Create Systems Change. In the book, this material follows chapters on Targeting Systems, Developing Social Innovations, Taking Pathways to Scale, and Designing Networks of Networks. To illustrate and deepen the practical frameworks of those chapters, the stories of more than 20 social innovation networks are presented. In this excerpt, leaders of some of those networks reflect on the nature of their leadership: the roles they play and the imperative to keep learning.

The excerpt identifies four distinct leadership roles: Innovation Broker, Network Weaver, Trusted Strategist, and Story Teller. Each role describes specific tasks and approaches. In addition, it explains why and how leaders continue learning how to guide and support social innovation networks.

The Introduction and Chapter 1 of Connect > Innovate > Scale Up can be downloaded at the coauthors’ website. The authors previously wrote about building networks for social impact in Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact.

Author Biographies

Peter Plastrik, Innovation Network for Communities

Peter Plastrik has been a journalist, state government official, social entrepreneur, network builder and consultant, and is coauthor of six other books. He is a cofounder of the Innovation Network for Communities. He was born in Paris, grew up in New York City, raised a family in Michigan, and lives alongside Puget Sound with his wife Deb, their pugs, fruit trees, and the Big Garden—near their two sons and their families.

Madeleine Beaubien Taylor, Network Impact

Madeleine Beaubien Taylor is a social anthropologist and the co-founder Network Impact. She works with funders and practitioners on strategy, program development, and assessment with a primary focus on social impact networks. A native of Montreal, Madeleine spent a decade as a researcher and filmmaker in Mozambique before moving to the US. She and her family divide their time between Brazil, the US, and Canada.

John Cleveland, Innovation Network for Communities

John Cleveland has worked as an executive in state government, a Continuous Quality Improvement leader in higher education, a strategy consultant in manufacturing, and a leader in urban climate change. He is a cofounder of the Innovation Network for Communities. Born in Virginia, he grew up in remote Alaskan villages, went to high school outside of Boston, raised a family in Michigan, and resides in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and biking, and with his wife Michelle gets great pleasure from their five children and eight grandchildren.




How to Cite

Plastrik, P., Beaubien Taylor, M., & Cleveland, J. (2022). Systems Change Network. Social Innovations Journal, 15(5). Retrieved from



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