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Complex social issues do not have a linear cause-effect explanation. They typically sit in multi-layered, at times dysfunctional, eco-systems where multiple actors affect each other and the social issue in ways which are not entirely predictable. 

In this session we discussed the use of a number of instruments which aim to influence the broader canvas in which complex social issues sit including CSR regulation, the setting of global agendas or manifestos, the provision of specific performance information to drive strategic decisions and the use of outcomes-based approaches for institutional reform.

Our speakers brought a wide range of perspectives to the issue, from human rights to corporate social responsibility. Avnish Gungadurdoss from Instiglio suggested outcomes approaches can drive reforms to be more flexible, results-driven, and locally-lead institutions. A number of speakers highlighted the important role that soft power, rather than imposed rules, plays in driving meaningful institutional change, with our chair Giulio Pasi suggesting that “outcomes approaches invite you to imagine a better future”.

Listen to the audio recording of the session.