The question of when and how international orders change remains a pertinent issue of International Relations theory. This article develops the model of pragmatic ordering to conceptualise change. The model of pragmatic ordering synthesises recent theoretical arguments for a focus on ordering advanced in-practice theory, pragmatist philosophy, and related approaches. It also integrates evidence from recent global governance research. We propose a five-stage model. According to the model, once a new problem emerges (problematisation), informality allows for experimenting with new practices and developing new knowledge (informalisation and experimentation). Once these experimental practices become codified, and survive contestation, they increasingly settle (codification) and are spread through learning and translation processes (consolidation). We draw on the rise of the maritime security agenda as a paradigmatic case and examine developments in the Western Indian Ocean region to illustrate each of these stages. The article draws attention to the substantial reorganisation of maritime space occurring over the past decade and offers an innovative approach for the study of orders and change.