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MARC Partnership

Municipalities Adapting in Response to Complexity (MARC) is an international partnership co-founded by the Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS), Flourishing Enterprise Institute (FEI), ICLEI World Secretariat, and REFOCUS Sustainability. This ambitious initiative brings together municipalities, sector NGOs, systemic innovators, academics, and funders to collaboratively innovate and enable transformative change within municipalities.
MARC serves as an innovation incubator, providing a platform for collaboration and knowledge mobilization. It offers access to a collective of leading experts, motivated municipalities, and scholars interested in studying the application of innovations in practice. Over the past four years, MARC partners have worked together to test, enhance, and scale the Enterprise Evolution Program (EEP). The EEP is designed to help municipalities evolve practices by leveraging emerging systemic frameworks, methods, and tools that enable organizations to harness their collective intelligence and collaboratively design their desired futures.
Those who join MARC recognize that the response of municipalities to complex, systemic issues challenging our communities has led to slow, incremental progress. They understand that to accelerate progress, we must overcome underlying organizational barriers and constraints. This requires shifting the mindsets of senior leaders and transforming strategic management practices.
Since its inception, MARC’s network has grown to include representatives of over 150 organizations, including over a dozen municipal sector NGOs. Through these networks, MARC can reach hundreds of municipalities across Canada and thousands more globally. The connections and exchanges facilitated by MARC across its diverse network have generated encouraging results and growing momentum.
Notably, REFOCUS and VERiS, two of MARC’s founding members, have been facilitating pioneering engagements with the City of Kitchener and the City of Nanaimo. These engagements focus on applying systemic innovations to shift mindsets and adapt strategic management practices. By leveraging the MARC network as an incubator and catalyst, these partners have accessed expertise that has enhanced their projects, attracted new academic collaborators, and captured opportunities to widely mobilize case studies and knowledge created.
Key MARC partners that many municipalities rely upon to define and support the adoption of best practices are now exploring how they can leverage the significant potential of systemic innovations. Regularly convening this diversity of actors has allowed municipalities to move from incrementalist approaches toward the more sophisticated, future-fit solutions that emerging complex challenges call for. This has attracted many others interested in cooperatively scaling their work.

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