Developmental Insights and Observations from Calgary’s Shift Project: What We’ve Learned about Social Change Initiatives


This report draws on selective findings emerging from Shift’s retrospective study to highlight key learnings about social change efforts and is intended for anyone who is working on large social change initiatives. This paper draws on Shift: The Project to End Domestic Violence as a case study to illustrate some of the dynamics involved in social change efforts. It presents learnings in seven key areas:

  • Managing complexity reactions
  • Building in time for learning and preparation
  • Building a knowledge structure that supports development
  • Developing multidimensional strategies
  • Identifying a niche
  • Changing practice
  • Changing policy

We hope that by sharing our learnings, we can support the efforts of others to create positive change.