SICI Events

Map the System 2020

SICI is delighted to participate in this year’s Map the System Competition, hosted by the Skoll Centre at the University of Oxford.

What is Map the System?

Map the System is a competition that asks students and educators to think differently about social and environmental change. The competition challenges participants to thoroughly research a specific social or environmental issue in order to fully comprehend its underlying components. Participants are then expected to compellingly articulate their findings in a way that engages audiences and promotes understanding.

The goal of Map the System is to encourage a learning-first approach to social change – one where people take the time to understand and build upon existing efforts before attempting something new. Students will delve deep into an issue that matters to them and will take the time to explore, probe and research all its connecting elements and factors – later sharing their findings with the world. Ultimately, social change is complicated. Mapping is an effective strategy for gaining insight into the complexities surrounding complex social issues.

Who is Map the System for?

Map the System is for any current Harvard student across schools, degree programs, and disciplines who have an interest in social or environmental issues and who want to learn more about a problem they care about. The purpose of the competition is to promote a systems-thinking approach to tackling social and/or environmental challenges. It is ideally suited for students:

  • With a passion for or, experience of, a particular social/environmental challenge and would like to investigate this problem fully to understand what sort of intervention in the system would be most effective,
  • Preparing for a career with a social impact and want to understand where their skills could be applied to deliver lasting impact,
  • Interested in an internship and want to find out more about the organisations working in their chosen area and potential opportunities, and/or
  • With an existing social innovation idea, but would like to research the issue thoroughly to understand what has been tried and tested, and are willing to pivot your idea based on their findings.


Participating institutions for Map the System set eligibility criteria for their teams. All current Harvard University students are eligible to participate in a Map the System team application.

Teams may have up to 5 students. SICI strongly encourages cross-University and cross-functional teams, i.e. those with a range of skills and experiences.

Key Dates and Awards

Please note that SICI deadlines and key dates may differ from Global Map the System deadlines. All Harvard teams should follow the deadlines provided below. 

December 6, 2019, 12:00PM ET: Early Registration Deadline (this option is good for established teams who wish to use Winter Recess to jump start their mapping efforts). SICI will provide first-round feedback for students who make this deadline.

February 5, 2020, 12:00PM ET: Final Registration Deadline (all teams must register to participate)

April 15, 2020, 6:59PM ET: Submission Deadline (visual map, analysis, and bibliography due)

Late-April, 2020: Semi-finalists Notified

June 5-7, 2020: Finalist attends the virtual Global Finals

SICI will award cash prizes to the top three Harvard teams to further their research and understanding of the problem space. Travel and accommodation for the Global Finals will be covered by SICI for the finalist team. At the finals, the team will have the opportunity to network with teams from around the world, receive coaching support on their presentation, and compete for up to a £4,000 cash prize!

Resources and More Information

Additional information, guidance, and support will be provided to registered teams to help guide their efforts. For more information on the Map the System global competition, please visit: Specific resources include: