Unraveling Complexity in Global Challenges: Map the System 2024
Posted May 3, 2024 - Linh Bui


Empowering change agents by bridging the gap between theory and practice.



Image description: Dana Dutton presented her research on 'Gen Z Loneliness Epidemic' in Map the System MRU Campus Final 2024

“Map the System challenges students to go well beyond their disciplines, to question not just practices, policies and structures, but deeply held assumptions, often at the level of culture and collective mental models”
- James Stauch, Executive Director of Institute for Community Prosperity

In a rapidly evolving world, understanding the intricate interplay of factors shaping our society is crucial. Enter Map the System, an unparalleled competition different from conventional social entrepreneurship pitches and case competitions. Rather than solely focusing on proposing solutions, Map the System prompts participants to think differently about social and environmental issues to include the broader context surrounding a problem, ranging from economic dynamics and political shifts to overarching global trends and underlying root causes, to envision systems change. By emphasizing holistic understanding over quick-fix solutions, 'Map the System' cultivates a mindset geared towards sustainable change.

For eight remarkable years of managing the competition, we have witnessed the power of cross-disciplinary collaboration and curiosity in student projects, where passion transcends boundaries. Your field of study or your level of experience matters less than the burning desire to understand and effect change. The growth we've seen in students—from shifting perspectives to embracing diverse approaches—is nothing short of inspiring. Through this program, they step beyond the confines of traditional academia and engage with real-world issues head-on. They emerge not just as competitors but as change agents, bridging the gap between theory and practice.


 Image description: Students gathered at the Map the System Workshop 2024

The collaboration between MRU and Map the System has seen students at MRU like Braden Etzerza, Roisin Dillon, Payton Glagau, Hannah Sweet, Jow Plant & Ravinka Gunawardane, Jilian Mah, Ashley Dion & Matthew Taburda, Kaitlyn Squires and other alumni leveraging their experiences to contribute meaningfully to societal issues from food insecurity, opioid crisis, healthcare access, systemic violence against Indigenous Women in Canada, Limitations in charity in Canada, and more. Thanks to the support of faculty members and students at the annual MRU campus finals and national final, these experiences and encouragements inspire individuals into advocates for impactful change, inspiring a generation of students to become catalysts for positive social transformation.


An Invitation

As we reflect on past successes through a carousel of images, we want to invite you to join us on the journey toward positive change this Spring at the Canada Final, whether you are a student with a passion for social justice or a faculty member eager to support the next generation of leaders.

This year, the Map the System Canada Final 2024 promises to be an electrifying event. With a record of 20 participating institutions and 774 students on board, the scale of this competition has reached new heights. It's a testament to the growing appetite for innovation and the desire to drive meaningful change. And with live-streamed presentations, this hybrid event helps ensure no one misses out.

Your voice and support matter not only to the student teams who have dedicated many hours to exploring and presenting the findings of complicated issues, but also to the larger community in which the momentum driving towards sustainable futures, nurturing awareness and fortifying the movement are strengthened. Let's come together and embark on this journey towards positive change.


 Image Description: Students and faculty engaged in collaborative discussions

As we gear up for the Map the System Canada Final 2024, let's remember that change begins with each of us. Join us in our pursuit of a world where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

Register now to be part of the systems thinking experience at the Map the System Canada Final 2024 [New link]

Map the System Canada Final 2024 - happening at the Bella Concert Hall on May 27th at 9:30 AM MST

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"There is a lot of buzz about 21st century skill sets, often summarized as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication. Map the System asks students to draw on all of these skill sets in a way that gets students thinking about problem-solving, but specifically in the context of real-world complexity.

- Student Guide to Mapping a System, 4th Edition.