The Twelve Shifts

The Core Ideas of Degrees of Change

As the title suggests, we are recommending a series of adjustments that we believe can lead to better outcomes for everybody. This does not mean we have arrived and are reporting back on our successes. Far from it. Nor does it mean we are dismissing the values, thinking, programs and innovations that have gotten us to where we are now. The future can only be envisaged while standing on the shoulders of those who brought us into the present—great minds and humanitarians who made it their lifework to leave something better behind. And we are grateful.

Future of Practice

Saftey & Flourishing

Saftey & Flourishing

Social services are designed to keep people safe. It is the most important thing we do. We have lots of training, policies, reporting and monitoring so that people are kept as safe as possible.
Individuals & Circles

Individuals & Circles

Programs and services to adults tend to be person-centric. Organizations typically struggle to involve circle members.
Programs & Platforms

Programs & Platforms

While this may sound like we are talking about technological solutions, we’re not. We’re actually talking about the way services are designed and delivered, irrespective of what technology is involved.
Basic Needs & Higher Order Needs

Basic Needs & Higher Order Needs

Social services often focus on basic needs: shelter, income, clothing, food, etc. These things are important, but they do not have the power to change lives. They don’t result in a good life, either—at least, not by themselves.
Behaviour & Identity

Behaviour & Identity

Much of our focus is on visible things: bodies and behaviours. This is true not only of how we interact with the people we support, but also of our employees and organizational processes.
Teachers & Coaches

Teachers & Coaches

Life is complex and sometimes requires more than teaching skills or lessons. Coaches do more than teach, they inspire. They stir motivation while dismantling stoppages caused by fear, anxiety and low self-esteem.

Future of Work

Experts & Community Catalysts

Experts & Community Catalysts

There are not enough resources or capacity in social services to meet everyone’s needs. Nor is it desirable to have social services meet everyone’s needs, even were that practicable.
Helpers & Brokers

Helpers & Brokers

But how do people move through our services so that they become part of community life to the greatest extent possible?
Rights & Culture

Rights & Culture

Seeking social change through rights, advocacy and public education is important. It has gotten us to where we are today. But we need to get better at influencing social norms and culture.

Future of Organizations

Delivery & Development

Delivery & Development

The social service sector is designed to deliver services. All of our departments, roles and resources are pointed at doing that well. But without rigorous development, programs and services can become static, irrelevant or even problematic; they can make the situation worse
Triage & Upstream

Triage & Upstream

n the same way that health services provide medical triage to those in urgent need, the social service sector provides a kind of social triage to people who face significant challenges.
Persons Served & Employees

Persons Served & Employees

The reason our services exist is to serve people with disabilities and their families. Our employees are absolutely essential to that—they are everything.