Most significant change method


Use for

Identifying important phases and changes in projects or programmes in order to learn from them.


This method is based on the principle that you can learn a lot about system innovation by reflecting on crucial changes and their timing during a project or programme.

What do you do?

You regularly gather narratives about the most significant change from the participants. You can do this by organising interviews or group meetings or from written material. The verification of the narratives is part of the method.

You then discuss the narratives and select the most important ones with the group.

You forward them to the next tier up in the project or programme's organisational structure, which in turn selects what it feels are the most significant changes for the management tiers above them.

Related method: Learning histories also devotes attention to ‘most significant changes'.


The most significant change method does not require any special expertise but it is time-consuming because you have to collect and check the narratives.

More information

The ‘Most Significant Change' (MSC) Technique A Guide to Its Use by Rick Davies and Jess Dart (2005).

Used by

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