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The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted the inequities that perpetuate harmful outcomes for billions of people around the globe. A growing number of voices call for global leaders to seize this crisis as an opportunity to “rebuild better.” However, this is easier said than done.

How can leaders help markets achieve systemic transformations toward inclusion and equity?

In this report, we provide guidance for philanthropic actors seeking to be more effective in supporting such changes in market systems, based on the Market System Innovation (MSI) approach first developed by FSG and the Rockefeller Foundation in 2017. Here, we share lessons from our work supporting partners across the globe in applying MSI in a range of real-world scenarios and offer practical suggestions for others involved in similar work.

Top Takeaways

  1. MSI helps philanthropic actors to better understand and engage with the dynamics of market systems change and complements other approaches and frameworks such as those focused on the structure and operation of market systems.
  2. The MSI approach can be deployed across a range of contexts, from developing adaptive strategies to coalescing and galvanizing allies for ambitious change.
  3. There is a set of accessible tools and practices that underpins the practice of MSI—this report outlines these with examples from FSG’s work with partners, and shares lessons and considerations to bear in mind when using these tools and frameworks.
Our best hope for change is to identify cracks in the current system that hold possibilities for improvement—we call these potentialities—and work iteratively and adaptively to strengthen and advance them.

This report was supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.