Making change: What works?

November 15, 2021

Over the last 8 months, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)and the Runnymede Trust have come together - commissioned by the Youth Endowment Fund - to understand how we can more effectively secure meaningful change that makes our society more prosperous and just.

As organisations we share a common fear. We don’t want to spend years undertaking research, writing reports, and making recommendations that end up languishing on shelves or online, that are rarely read and never acted on. The risk for organisations like ours is always the same: lots of activity but little action. We have therefore undertaken a deep dive into what has, and hasn’t, worked for other movements trying to solve complex social problems. The movements we looked at are set out below. As a partnership we have attempted to take a ‘what works’ approach to the question of ‘how can we make change?’

This report sets out the findings of this research. Our key insight is as powerful as it is simple: more and better evidence is vital for making change, but it will not secure it on its own. Instead, movements like ours must change hearts and minds among the public and build greater power among those who advocate for, or will benefit from, change.


At IPPR we are committed to using the insights in this report to shape our efforts in the months and years to come. We will work hard to ensure that our organisation contributes to making tomorrow better than today. And, we hope this report will be useful for other organisations working to address economic, environmental, social and democratic justice in the UK and further afield.