Sometimes, the answers to solving the world's problems seem simple and straightforward. Yet, anyone who has attempted to coordinate even a community yard sale knows that collaboration is never easy, and often messy. So, how then can we partner effectively with people and organizations to create meaningful change? Is it even possible?
And, it requires a particular process to be done well on a large scale.
"Collective Impact is a framework to tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It is an innovative and structured approach to making collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change."
--Collaboration for Impact
The first step in this framework is to create a common agenda. This is the really big-picture change you'd like to make: Increase the health of your community; Increase equity in your region; or Improve public safety.
Say you want to increase equity in your region. That’s a tall order that requires many partners and a long-term strategy. Some key questions to start planning might be:
Are there examples of equitable regions that we might model?
What organizations or experts are already involved in working toward an equitable region?
What aspects of society are crucial to equity? (Social, economic, and environmental)
What barriers to equity exist that we can eradicate?
Before creating an entire agenda, it is crucial identify key partners. To efficiently increase equity in the region, you want to enlist the cooperation of those in the financial sector, housing policy, developers, food producers and distributors, transportation industry, health agencies, public spaces, and education. Creating a common agenda with this variety of partners requires keeping the mission general, and allowing for each partner to work within their specialty area on objectives towards the overall goal. Identifying a backbone organization that will track progress and facilitate communication is essential to this process.
Stay tuned for more about the Collective Impact Framework.