Collective Impact is an approach to collaboration that is being used by diverse communities around the world to transform difficult social problems.
Collective Impact isn’t about continuing to do things the way they have been done. The status quo is giving us exactly the results we have now.
If we’re happy with what we have: great! If not, we need to change the system to get the results we want.
To change a system, we need to address the way we think about the system, and how we interact with each other. We need to be prepared to be changed.
Five structures create the structure of Collective Impact:
- A Common Agenda;
- Shared Measurement;
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities;
- Continuous Communication; &
- A Backbone Structure.
I believe (as do others who have worked with Collective Impact over time) that there is a sixth element that is necessary for successful Collective Impact: Equity.
It is these six structures that enable the complex work of system transformation.
The model is flexible. Communities focus on what is important at a local level.
For some communities, it’s child and youth mental health. For others, it’s obesity prevention. Poverty reduction. Improving health outcomes for LGBTQ+ community members. Reducing racial disparities in high school graduation rates.
The focus is on whatever issue is identified by a community as being most significant to improve the health and well-being of that community.