“Taking a complex adaptive systems approach is a game changer. It dramatically improves the chances of organisations who are acting to cause change, being successful in that.”

ECOSavvy utilises the emergent field of complex adaptive systems leadership theory and Wicked Lab's global award winning software to amplify the impact of Queensland based programs and initiatives working towards the achievement of one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Our consultancy service assesses each program or initiative against 36 characteristics and identifies small tweaks in programs that can amplify impact at a systemic level.

Program managers gain:

  • an understanding of how complex adaptive system change occurs;
  • improved visibility of partnerships;
  • clear pathways for action;
  • and hope - through being able to see and leverage how their project contributes to the bigger picture (systemic change).

With the assessment presented in a colour coded visual matrix, the results can be both shared with stakeholders and used to assist in prioritising activities and allocating funding.


    ECOSavvy works with programs and initiatives (and ideally groups of initiatives) that are seeking to change the status quo.

    The initiatives may be addressing any of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SGDs). 

    The initiative may be a corporate, government or industry environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives; OR A social enterprise, not-for-profit or community initiative taking on economic, cultural or environmental challenges.

      ECOSavvy applies complex adaptive systems leadership theory and Wicked Lab's global award winning software 'Tool for Systemic Change' to amplify the impact of Queensland based programs and initiatives working towards the achievement of one or more of the UN SDGs.

      An Adelaide based, women-founded, purpose-led digital technology firm Wicked Lab has been prominent in developing, promoting and enabling the use of complex adaptive systems leadership theory. 

      This work was recently recognised when Wicked Lab won a 2022 World Summit Award for 'Digital Solutions for the UN SDGs' for their Tool for Systemic Change.

        Visual representation of the 17 icons representing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
        Diagram showing traditional linear thinking compared with systems thinking

        Recognising that the big challenges facing society are not simple, or even complicated, but complex has led to the realisation that theorical knowledge from the complexity sciences and in particular the emerging field of complex adaptive systems leadership theory can be useful for progressing the systemic changes required to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

          Complex Adaptative Systems Leadership Theory

          Trial Program

          19 sustainability initiatives at Ithaca Creek State School are currently being evaluated with a view to amplifying their ability to cause change at a systemic level. 

          The feedback is already promising....

          We had our first Active School Travel meeting for the year on Tuesday and they loved the sign idea for the bike racks, and for doing a survey about the barriers for parents completing Active School Travel. Change is happening! And its thanks to you! Thanks, such a good way promote lasting change!”

          It is projected that philanthropic and government funding for complex challenges will increasingly be allocated at a systemic level, in recognition of the importance of the interactions occurring within the ‘solution ecosystem’ for effecting systemic change.  

          An example of the output from Wicked Lab’s Tool for Systemic Change.
          The Process

          Undertaking an assessment is quick, and involves a conversation which discusses how the initiative is undertaken. Using theoretical knowledge of complex adaptive systems change theory,  the ECOSavvy practitioner ‘audits’ an initiative against 36 characteristics - that are known pre-conditions for complex adaptive systems change occurring.

          Each characteristic is marked in Wicked Lab's 'Tool for Systemic Change' as being achieved or not, and through a co-design process with the program manager opportunities are identified to tweak programs to increase the number of characteristics being achieved by the initiative.

          The benefit to program managers is increased clarity of purpose and a better understanding of the ability of the program to influence at a systemic level.

          Additional insight is achieved when multiple initiatives working in the same geographic area, to solve the same problem are assessed. Called ‘ecosystem mapping’, the goal is to ensure that all 26 characteristics are achieved through a combination of initiatives across the ecosystem.