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Compass Points for Comprehensive, Collaborative Initiatives: Communities Working Together to Foster Resilient and Healthy Labrador Eric Leviten-Reid &

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Presentation on theme: "Compass Points for Comprehensive, Collaborative Initiatives: Communities Working Together to Foster Resilient and Healthy Labrador Eric Leviten-Reid &"— Presentation transcript:

1 Compass Points for Comprehensive, Collaborative Initiatives: Communities Working Together to Foster Resilient and Healthy Labrador Eric Leviten-Reid & Liz Weaver Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement October 27, 2009

2 Purpose Comprehensive, Collaborative Initiatives: – What are they? – Where did they come from? – What issues do they tackle? – What’s the rationale behind them? – What are some key concepts? – What results are they able to achieve? – What are some ‘rules for the road’?

3 A bit about us… Hamilton Nonprofit community organizations Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction Vibrant Communities – Systems Change – Coaching Informing practice with ideas Cape Breton Community Economic Development Vibrant Communities – Policy research – Learning and evaluation Informing ideas with practice

4 A Pan-Canadian initiative exploring comprehensive, multisectoral approaches to poverty reduction – Launched in 2002 by three national partners Tamarack: An Institute for Community Engagement The Caledon Institute of Social Policy The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation – And currently 12 Trail Builder communities across the country

5 Participating Cities Abbotsford Calgary Edmonton Hamilton Montreal St. John’s Saint John Surrey Trois-Rivières Victoria Winnipeg Waterloo Region

6 The Culture We Want to Build in our Communities An integrated approach

7 Comprehensive, Collaborative Initiatives: What are they? A new generation of community work that brings together a wide range of partners to collectively tackle the multiple and interrelated aspects of complex issues.

8 Diverse Initiatives; Family Resemblance Pursue broad, multiple goals Promote multisectoral collaboration Combine diverse strategies Address multiple spheres (e.g., employment, housing) and levels of action (e.g., individual, family, community, wider systems) Involve some form of community empowerment, ownership, participation, leadership and relationship-building Are intentionally flexible and responsive to changing local conditions Employ a long-term time frame

9 Where did they come from? Many Streams Social Service Integration Community Economic Development Social Development Sustainable Development Population Health

10 Comprehensive Community Initiatives US Late 1980s High poverty inner city neighbourhoods – Response to deep cuts in government funding – Rejuvenate community development by combining lessons from earlier rounds of community work Ford Foundation – Neighbourhood and Family Initiative Annie E. Casey Foundation – Re-building Communities Initiative Aspen Institute – Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiatives

11 What issues do they tackle?

12 What’s the rationale behind them? A reaction to so called ‘categorical programs’ that tend to direct energy and resources to isolated aspects of a problem In contrast, CCIs operate on the premise that ‘joined up problems’ require ‘joined up solutions’

13 These initiatives emerged in response to accumulating evidence that services meant to improve the life prospects of the poor were often proving ineffective – at least in part because they were so fragmented. They rejected the tendency to address issues such as poverty, employment, health, crime, education and housing in isolation from one another. Instead, they endorsed the idea that multiple and interrelated problems require multiple and interrelated solutions. -Lisbeth Schorr, Common Purpose


15 An important lesson from much previous work had been that it unfolded in a piecemeal fashion: good programs for social services, economic development, and physical revitalization existed, but they were implemented in isolation from one another. The comprehensiveness theme of CCIs recognized that individual, family, and community circumstances were linked, and by linking our responses to those circumstances we could create a whole response that was more than the sum of its parts. - Anne Kubisch et. al. Voices from the Field Comprehensiveness

16 Innovation Challenge Governance Challenge Robustness Challenge Coordination Challenge Completeness Challenge Elements missing? Linked effectively? Adequately resourced? Adjusted over time in relation to one another? Combined in creative ways? Five Comprehensiveness Challenges

17 Collaboration In order to address multiple dimensions of an issue, the participation of individuals and organizations knowledgeable about and active in various areas is required. Collaboration allows partner to combine their knowledge, resources and know-how in new and better ways.

18 Roles for Different Sectors Business Sector Expertise, credibility and voice, connections, funding and other resources, leadership Government Sector Expertise, connections to elected officials, funding and other resources, policy change, leadership Social Sector Expertise, experience on the ground, service delivery, ability to ramp up change efforts Citizens with Lived Experience Expertise about the issues, practical and relevant solution, leadership, connections to other citizens

19 Taking Collaboration to a New Level Funders and communities are often weighed down by past ways of working – such as fragmented problems, fragmented resources, uncoordinated public policies, and turf protection – that are no longer very helpful. What is needed instead is to work at a systems level, crossing artificial boundaries of sectors and programs so community problems can be addressed in a comprehensive way. -Jay Connor Community Visions, Community Solutions

20 Taking Collaboration to a New Level Conceptually… ‘Shifting attention from the frog to the ecosystem’ Practically… New Infrastructure – ‘community support organization’ New Modes of Leadership – ‘leading between’ – ‘adaptive leadership’

21 Complex Problems Complex problems are not just more complicated than other problems; they are different in kind. It isn’t the number of elements they involve but the dynamic relationship among those elements. As a result, they can’t be tackled effectively with the same techniques as other problems. New attitudes and practices are needed that enable a wide range of participants, each involved with different parts of the problem, to continuously adjust and re- adjust how they affect one another through the decisions and actions they take.

22 Managing Complexity TRADITIONAL RESPONSE CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPLEX ISSUES ADAPTIVE RESPONSE SpecializationMultiple Root Causes Orchestration SilosMultiple StakeholdersCross Boundary Crisp Problem Definition Difficult to FrameWorking Framework Plan the Work, Work the Plan EmergentAct, React and Adapt ResolveParadoxes & DilemmasCope Standardized and Detailed Blueprint UniqueMinimum Specs, Variation & Customization Short TermIntractableLong Term

23 Resilience The degree to which the system can build capacity for learning and adaptation. – Health – Resilience in a New Key

24 The Resilience Approach Resilience OpportunityEngagementAdaptationSustenance Excerpt from Sherri Torjman. (2006). Shared space: The Communities Agenda. Ottawa: Caledon Institute of Social Policy, September.

25 What results are these initiatives able to achieve? Outcome tracking is vital but challenging – Multifaceted, evolutionary and long-term Bottom-line outcomes for individuals/families are not the only focus Cumulative and reinforcing impact is critical

26 Expanding Working Relationships COLLABORATIVE FUNCTIONS Strategic Focus Information sharing Research Priority setting & planning Evaluation & learning Supporting Local Action Social marketing Technical assistance & coaching Access to funding Lobbying & advocacy Facilitation and brokering Peer learning Direct project management MULTIPLE CHANGES New, expanded programs or services Improved public policies Adjusted practices of local organizations Better information sharing Greater-smarter investments More local capacity More hope Greater sense of personal and collective efficacy CASCADING OUTCOMES People Outcomes Increased income and assets Improved education Improved housing Reduced crime Stronger social networks Improved health Organizational Outcomes Improved skills and knowledge related to issue Expanded resources Stronger commitment to work on the issue Increased partnerships New programs & services Community Outcomes Stronger collaboration Multi sector relationships Adjusted policies Increased public awareness More vibrant communities Increased participation and inclusion Increased prosperity and productivity How the network builds outcomes

27 ‘Rules for the Road’ Be clear about the ‘problem’ you want to solve Define clear goals and targets Be prepared to learn as you go; don’t expect to follow a straight line Mobilize partners around shared aspirations Find the synergies from working across sectors, issues and levels of action Don’t hold out for the perfect plan; start somewhere and build from there.

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