We work together to solve social problems,
from isolated impact to scaled cross-sector collaborations
1 Connecting stakeholders with a top-down and bottom-up approach
Collective Impact often brings government and private-sector organizations together. For example, the Shape Up Somerville program is a citywide effort aiming at reducing and preventing childhood obesity in elementary school children. It was lead by Tufts University and the Somerville municipal government—a top-down approach that gradually engaged local restaurants, schools, city parks, and urban designers in a collective effort. Simultaneously, a bottom-up strategy was employed, as experts from the university trained clinicians and school nurses to make students more aware of the importance of diet and exercise. Program implementers all agree to the ultimate goal of the pilot program, and they provide valuable feedback to the university and the government to help determine program effectiveness.
2 Multiple perspectives yield the best practice
Individuals and organizations, such as non-profits, governments, academics, social groups and local residents, inevitably have different perspectives on the same social issue. Recognizing that each approach has merit, Collective Impact carefully analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each and then builds consensus to create a collaborative, cross-sector program that will yield the best practice.
3 Establishing cross-sector cooperation by assembling specific elements
Cross-sector cooperation is hardly a new concept. There are countless strategic partnerships, service networks, and other forms of collaboration in the public and private sectors. What sets Collective Impact apart are the following five conditions:[ https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact John Kania & Mark Kramer]
(1) Common Agenda: Collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
(2) Shared Measurement Systems: Collecting data and measuring results consistently on a short list of indicators at the community level and across all participating organizations not only ensures that all efforts remain aligned, it also enables the participants to hold each other accountable and learn from each other’s successes and failures.
(3) Mutual Reinforcing Activities: Collective impact initiatives depend on a diverse group of stakeholders working together, not by requiring that all participants do the same thing, but by encouraging each participant to undertake the specific set of activities at which it excels in a way that supports and is coordinated with the actions of others.
(4) Continuous Communication: Developing trust among nonprofits, corporations, and government agencies is a monumental challenge. Participants need several years of regular meetings to build up enough experience with each other to recognize and appreciate the common motivation behind their different efforts. They need time to see that decisions will be made on the basis of objective evidence and the best possible solution to the problem, not to favor the priorities of one organization over another. Even the process of creating a common vocabulary takes time, and it is an essential prerequisite to developing shared measurement systems.
(5) Backbone Support Organizations: The backbone organization requires a dedicated staff separate from the participating organizations who can plan, manage, and support the initiative through ongoing facilitation, technology and communications support, data collection and reporting, and handling the myriad logistical and administrative details needed for the initiative to function smoothly.