Engagement Week 2024: Scaling experimentation – A catalyst for transformative system change

18 September 2024
20 September 2024

In September 2024, public and private investors will meet for the first time in Barcelona for an Engagement Week led by TIPC and the Deep Transitions Lab, which will build new partnerships and an emerging community of practice dedicated to profound systemic change.

Under the theme of ‘Scaling experimentation: A catalyst for transformative system change’, we will create the spaces and conditions for fresh exchanges between public and private actors, and build new narratives around the agency of investors in tackling transformational failure.

This global forum will synchronise emerging work on systems transformation, identifying novel strategies, methodologies and areas for cooperation and mutual value, while exploring practical models and replicable actions for integrating system change into investment practices and policy-making.

Hosted with the generous support of the Government of Catalonia, which is working intensely on application of systems thinking to place-based regional challenges, the Engagement Week will bring together diverse actors from the public and private sectors. These will include impact and ESG investors, national and regional government agencies from around the world, NGOs and development funders, global research networks, regional knowledge hubs, and intergovernmental organisations.

The event will also provide opportunities for the next generation of change agents – including university students based in Africa, Europe and Latin America – to engage with investors and explore a shared agenda towards a more sustainable future.

Up to 150 participants will take part in the programme, which will be made up of two components:

  • Wednesday 18th – Thursday 19th September: TIPC member and DT Lab partner activities
  • Friday 20th September: Conference for the TIP and DT Lab knowledge communities

We will look at navigating the dynamics of scaling, how public and private actors can collaborate, and address our assumptions about paths to success. In a programme dedicated to reframing challenges and creating new visions of the future, activities will include:

  • Networking and social activities
  • Joint learning sessions with investors and policy actors addressing the theory and practice behind interventions in sociotechnical systems in order to advance transformative change
  • Live engagement with a new Transformative Investment ‘bundle’ experiment, which will deliver public-private action on place-based challenges in Catalonia
  • Face-to-face meetings for DT Lab partner investors and TIPC’s Governing Board
  • The launch of a new European Hub (TRIP-EuHub – TRansformative Innovation Policy European Hub) for research and practice on the orientation of European innovation policy towards system change and a sustainable future
  • Panels, plenaries and parallel sessions with thought leaders from the Transformative Investment and Transformative Innovation Policy knowledge communities, all working on the application of transitions theory towards investments in sustainability and social change

Please note that due to venue capacity, we have limited places for the engagement week. We will be sending out a call for submissions and providing more information on how to register your interest. To keep updated, sign up for the TIPC Digital Digest or follow the Deep Transitions Lab on LinkedIn.


Wednesday 18 September: TIPC and DT Lab engagement
Venue: TBA; timings are provisional.

Systems optimisation can generate short-term positive effects. However, in the long run it may inhibit scaling, by preserving the unsustainable configuration of a dominant regime, and reinforcing the underlying rules. So how do we know if well-intended policy experiments or investment decisions are optimising or challenging a system? In this interactive session, investors, policy makers, funders and researchers will draw on experience and practice to shed new light on the potential of portfolios to deliver transformative change. More information to follow.

Thursday 19 September: Scaling experimentation in practice
Venue: TBA; timings are provisional
Representatives from the Government of Catalonia will lead an interactive session exploring the city of Lleida’s Shared Agenda. Perspectives from multiple actors in the region highlight how local communities, supported by experts and public administrations successfully used transformative innovation and systems change methodologies and frameworks to address challenges linked to the green and just transition.

Investments and policy decisions can be made more effective by connecting to the transition dynamics of a particular place. From skills to infrastructures, identities to aspirations and culture – the characteristics and conditions of a context may help or hinder progress towards transformative outcomes. In this interactive session, developed in collaboration with the Joint Research Centre at the European Commission, participants will reference real-world challenges to consider the role of place in stretching the transformative potential of policies and investments. More information to follow.

Launch of TRIP European Hub – the launch of this exciting new initiative which will bring together ‘pairs’ of research organisations and governments (local, national, global) doing experimentation together on transformative change initiatives.

Friday 20 September: TIPC and DT Lab conference day
Venue: TBA; timings are provisional
Theme 1:
Policy design for transformation
Theme 2:
Public vs private investment in scaling
Theme 3:
Organising to maximise scaling