What is the Systemic Approach to Change, Innovation and Development (SACID)?



The Systemic Approach to Change, Innovation and Development (SACID) is a revolutionary specific working methodology that observes, analyses and manages each object and action, during the project design, implementation and management, by contextualizing them within a specific system and its environment, and by referring to the functioning rules, common to all systems, set out by the General Theory of Systems

(Ludwig von Bertalanffy General Theory of Systems, 1968).


 The General Theory of Systems is the science of the structures, any kind of structure, which has analysed and brought to light the cross-cutting properties that are common to all the existing systems. The Theory reveals, in an extremely clear and concrete way, by which mechanisms a system arises, develops its own identity and characteristics, reacts to inner or external change stimuli, reaches certain goals regardless of starting conditions, fails, behaves, builds relationships, self-organises, responds to its belonging environment, remains stable or changes, keeps on balance or collapses.


Summarising, the General Theory of Systems clearly explains how a system works, and the integration of its properties into any step of the project design and management provides professionals, who are engaged in whichever sort of change process, with strategic knowledge and tools to develop and implement effective, relevant, fair and sustainable interventions.


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SACID comprehensive added value to change and innovation projects


The utilisation of the SACID as working methodology to design and manage projects for change, innovation and development, gives a three folds positive impact:



  • Each action and related results are and remain included within a framework of comprehensively respectful and efficient development process.

This essentially means that interventions result fully integrated, built inside the implementing framework, specifically tailored, feasible, effective and relevant to the real identified needs and available recourses, sustainable, significant as positive short and long term impact, attentive to local balances and diversities, and measurable in terms of possible risks during and post implementation.


  • Interventions match with essential cross cutting key quality factors, international development policies and requirements.

This means that projects are structured on the basis of a number of core cross cutting pillars, such as the harmonisation with the natural, economic and political local environment, the utilisation of appropriate technologies, the replacement of linear models with circular ones, the inclusion of socio-cultural issues and cultural heritage, the approach to local identity as permanent point of reference, the full consideration of transnational ethical must, the building of structural cross cutting capacities for strengthening local autonomy, responsibility and self determination, the multiplier and multi-sector positive effects of development, and the central importance given to communication, organisation and relationships management.


  • Overall costs are reduced.

Intervention expenditures that are necessary to reach the objectives decrease thanks to the inclusion of local integrated existing resources, to the endogenous development of the change process, empowerment and strengthening of local autonomy and responsibility, the construction of inner strategic capacities, the harmonisation and synergy with natural, socio-economic and political local environment, and the accurate assessment and mitigation of comprehensive risks.   


SACID specific added value to each step of project design and management


The utilisation of the Systemic Approach to Change, Innovation and Development provides each crucial step of project design and management with specific important added values:


Project Analysis



Actor analysis



  • SACID allows to the precise identification of all the actors that directly or indirectly play a role on shaping the reality/context/problem/situation that the project is going to deal with and which consideration and inclusion is essential during any step of the analysis phase, as well as throughout the project design and management;
  • SACID makes available to professionals a structured and precise set of tools to approach efficiently the identified actors/subjects, which positively and radically revolutionises the project analysis, design and management.


          Problems analysis


  • SACID brings to light the rules, dynamics and functioning mechanisms that generate the problem/situation that the project is going to deal with. In this way, it becomes possible to clearly understand “how” the key problem/situation arises and persists within the concerned system;
  • SACID flushes out the different roles and specific responsibilities of each concerned system in generating the problem/situation that the project is going to deal with.


          Objective analysis

  •  SACID allows professionals to clearly understand:


  1. How the involved system could solve the key problem, by modifying and/or substituting harmful and ineffective working rules, dynamics and functioning mechanisms, with successful ones;
  2. Which positive, risky and/or negative impacts each possible intervention and modification of dysfunctional rules/dynamics/mechanisms might have on target systems.


  • SACID allows professionals to develop different and tailored actions for each of the detected systems, in respect to the diverse roles and responsibilities they have in generating the problem/situation that the project is going to deal with.  


Needs and resources analysis



SACID leads to a comprehensive overview of the key needs that have to be met and the core resources that can be exploited for shifting from the current problems perspective to the future one of the possible objectives. A clear understanding of needs and resources, contextualised for each of the involved system, represents a central asset for the strategies analysis.



Strategies analysis



SACID provides the opportunity to select the project strategies as well as the system(s) in which to make the change, to assess positive and relevant impact of the actions and evaluate possible related risks at any level.



Analysis of analysis



SACID stresses the crucial importance of the analysis phase for the comprehensive quality of the project and its positive impact on target systems. For this reason, the Systemic Approach includes a final analysis assessment, to check and confirm the real validity of the on-going process and its related outcomes.


Project design


During the definition of the project objectives and the design of the whole intervention, SACID provides professionals with a set of innovative important tools to elaborate actions that: 


    1. Concretely make possible the realisation of an effective, relevant, proper and sustainable change process;

    2. Enable to properly change the dysfunctional rules/dynamics/behaviours, which create and maintain inside the systemic structures the problem/situation that the project intends to deal with, through their substitution with new mechanisms that are effective vis-à-vis the achievement of the objectives;

    3. Do not jeopardise, by no way, the short and long term equilibriums of the involved system(s) and their environment, do not threaten the core systemic identity pillars and do not risk to unleash local conflicts;

    4. Belong to a conceptual and practical development/change framework, which can be easily and naturally owned by the involved system/s;

    5. Are concretely relevant to the detected needs and based on the identified local comprehensive resources;

    6. Build and develop, within the target context, structural cross cutting capacities with the double goal of both being functional to reach the specific project objective and empower the involved systems by strengthening their possibility of choice, autonomy, self determination and responsibility.


Project Management


During the project implementation phase, SACID provides professionals with practical tools for:


  1. Building effective and functional communication and relationship mechanisms, to optimise the management of human resources and target systems, and to guarantee permanent information flow, participation, cohesion and collaboration among stakeholders;

  2. Monitoring the level of stability of the involved system/s during any step of the change process. Should the system’s equilibrium seem to be at risk, SACID gives indications on how to rearrange the project schedule to restore systemic balance;

  3. Constantly referring any management procedure and tool to target systems (not anymore to single groups) and to circularity (not anymore to a linear-causal development).