Today Collaborate CIC and Newcastle Business School (of Northumbria University) are excited to publish our new research into funding, commissioning and delivering in complex environments, supported by the National Lottery Community Fund and Tudor Trust.

Read the report

Building on our previous report, A Whole New World: Funding and Commissioning in Complexity, this new work responds to significant interest in learning from practical examples of how organisations, funders and commissioners are fundamentally rethinking their design and delivery of support. It sets out a ‘new world’ of approaches to social change that genuinely put people in the lead, providing practical examples and insights for others eager to develop new ways of working.

The report identifies that to respond effectively to complexity, funders, commissioners and those who work on the ground adopt a Human, Learning, Systems approach by:

– Being Human to one another: they recognise and respond to human variety with bespoke support, they build empathy between people, they recognise the strengths of others, and they seek to trust and be trusted.

– Using Learning to enable performance improvement: they use a variety of both quantitative and qualitative data to learn; they create learning cultures; and they fund and commission for learning, not for the delivery of specified services.

– Looking after the health of the Systems which create social outcomes: they create the conditions in which people can understand the systems of which they are part, and enable effective collaboration and co-ordination of actors within these systems.

Informed by a year of action research and events, the report seeks to:

– SHARE emerging new practice, including through in-depth case studies

– INSPIRE and enable people interested in working in this way to develop new approaches

– BUILD a movement for change

Download the full report here

And download specific parts of the report here:

Building on the considerable and growing momentum for this ‘new world,’ Collaborate CIC and Newcastle Business School are now working alongside the inspiring organisations featured in the report to build a movement for change. We hope that many of you will join us! More information will be provided soon on Collaborate’s website. Sign up to this mailing list to be notified of updates.

If you would like support in developing a Human Learning Systems approach, find out how we can help here.

Please also see this Knowledge Hub for further discussion and resources.

For more information on Collaborate CIC, please email [email protected] or visit

For more information on Newcastle Business School, please contact [email protected] or visit