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Getting Ready for Collective Impact

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Presentation on theme: "Getting Ready for Collective Impact"— Presentation transcript:

1 Getting Ready for Collective Impact
Liz Weaver Vice President, Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement -

2 About Tamarack – An Institute for Community Engagement
Tamarack is a charity that develops and supports learning communities that helps people to collaborate, co-generate knowledge and achieve collective impact on complex community issues. Our vision is to build a connected force for community change. Join us as we discover how communities can act together for positive change! Visit our websites:

3 Workshop Overview The Context: Collaboration and Complexity
The Framework: Collective Impact The Issue: The Community Context The Challenge: Working Differently The Case: Human and Financial Investments

4 The Context

5 The Collaboration Spectrum
Trust Compete Co-exist Communicate Cooperate Coordinate Collaborate Integrate Competition for clients, resources, partners, public attention. No systematic connection between agencies. Inter-agency information sharing (e.g. networking). As needed, often informal, interaction, on discrete activities or projects. Organizations systematically adjust and align work with each other for greater outcomes. Longer term interaction based on shared mission, goals; shared decision-makers and resources. Fully integrated programs, planning, funding. Turf Loose Tight

6 Table Discussion: Collaboration Spectrum
How could you use the Collaboration Spectrum with your community partners and with current collaborative efforts?

7 Complexity + Community Change

8 Use expertise, experiment and
Learn-by-doing, see what emerges, adapt. Create stability, look for opportunities to innovate. Wicked Problems & Social Messes Develop common ground, compromise or compete. Follow the ‘best practice’ recipe. Use expertise, experiment and build knowledge.

9 Characteristics of Complex Problems
Complex problems are difficult to frame The cause and effect relationships are unclear There are diverse stakeholders Each experience of is unique The characteristics & dynamics of the issue evolves There is no obvious right or wrong set of solutions There is no objective measure of success

10 Managing Complex Problems
TRADITIONAL RESPONSE CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPLEX ISSUES ADAPTIVE RESPONSE Specialization Multiple Root Causes Orchestration Silos Multiple Stakeholders Cross Boundary Crisp Problem Definition Difficult to Frame Working Framework Plan the Work, Work the Plan Emergent Act, React and Adapt Resolve Paradoxes & Dilemmas Cope Standardized and Detailed Blueprint Unique Minimum Specs, Variation & Customization Short Term Intractable Long Term 10


12 Collective Impact

13 An Overview of Collective Impact
Greater Cincinnati Foundation Collective Impact: Pulling Together

14 From Isolated Impact to Collective Impact
Funders select individual grantees Organizations work separately Evaluation attempts to isolate a particular organization’s impact Large scale change is assumed to depend on scaling organizations Corporate and government sectors are often disconnected from foundations and non-profits. Collective Impact Funders understand that social problems – and their solutions – arise from multiple interacting factors Cross-sector alignment with government, nonprofit, philanthropic and corporate sectors as partners Organizations actively coordinating their actions and sharing lessons learned All working toward the same goal and measuring the same things

15 Collective Impact is… …positive and consistent progress at scale.
Facilitator Notes: This slide tells two stories. The image shows that collective impact journeys are never quite linear. In fact, they often take multiple routes and there are often unforeseen barriers that have to be navigated. John Kania, FSG Social Impact Consultants and one of the authors of the articles on collective impact has said that ‘Collective Impact is positive and consistent progress at scale’. This statement means a number of things. Positive and consistent progress refers to the fact that collective impact initiatives need to be focused on the progress they are making. Members of a collective impact initiative must be able to quantify and measure change. Scale refers to the geographic or system that is being impacted. The scale has to be sufficient enough to track progress. It is also important that the host group define the scope and scale of the collective impact initiative. …positive and consistent progress at scale. - John Kania, FSG Social Impact Consultants, Oregon 2013

16 Used for Many Complex Issues
Teen Pregnancy Health Education Homelessness Community Safety Poverty

17 Collective Impact – Framing Questions
Do we aim to effect ―needle- change (i.e., 10% or more) on a community-wide metric? Do we believe that a long-term investment (i.e., three to five-plus years) by stakeholders is necessary to achieve success? Do we believe that cross-sector engagement is essential for community-wide change? Are we committed to using measurable data to set the agenda and improve over time? Are we committed to having community members as partners and producers of impact?

18 The Phases of Collective Impact
Governance and Infrastructure Strategic Planning Phases of Collective Impact The Phases of Collective Impact Community Involvement Phase I Generate Ideas and Dialogue Phase II Initiate Action Phase III Organize for Impact Phase IV Sustain Action and Impact Components for Success Convene community stakeholders Identify champions and form cross-sector group Evaluation And Improvement Create infrastructure (backbone and processes) Facilitate and refine Continue engagement and conduct advocacy Support implementation (alignment to goal and strategies) Collect, track, and report progress (process to learn and improve) Hold dialogue about issue, community context, and available resources Map the landscape and use data to make case Create common agenda (common goals and strategy) Facilitate community outreach specific to goal Facilitate community outreach Engage community and build public will Determine if there is consensus/urgency to move forward Analyze baseline data to ID key issues and gaps Establish shared metrics (indicators, measurement, and approach)

19 Preconditions for Collective Impact
Influential Champion(s) Urgency of issue Adequate Resources

20 The Five Conditions of Collective Impact
Common Agenda All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions Shared Measurement Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable Mutually Reinforcing Activities Participant activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action Facilitators Notes: This slide provides an overview of the five core conditions of collective impact and brief descriptions of each. These will be described in more detail in the next set of slides. The facilitator can just introduce the five conditions: common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communications and backbone support. Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation Continuous Communication Backbone Support Creating and managing collective impact requires a dedicated staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies 11 Source: FSG

21 The Issue

22 Common Agenda Define the challenge to be addressed.
Acknowledge that a collective impact approach is required. Establish clear and shared goal(s) for change. Identify principles to guide joint work together.

23 Building a Common Agenda
Prior History Positive or negative impact Pressing Issue Galvanize leaders across sectors Data Determine what you need to understand impact of the issue on community Community Context Is there community buy in? Determine community leverage opportunities Core Group Determine who needs to be involved in core group Convener Trusted leadership to facilitate collaborative efforts Community Engagement Determine how to engage the broader community in the effort

24 Where is your community?
Waiting place – waiting for something to create a pivot point Impasse – know there is a problem, but it’s someone else’s problem Catalytic – gearing up for change Growth – engaging citizens in change Renewal and sustaining Source: The Harwood Institute

25 What makes the difference between a good movie and a bad movie?
Common Agenda What makes the difference between a good movie and a bad movie? “Getting everyone involved to make the same movie!” - Francis Ford Coppola

26 The Community Context What are the key community context elements we need to consider to work collectively in Adelaide?

27 Common Agenda Exercise: Theory of Change Tool
Strategies Assumptions Influential Factors Problem or Issue Desired results (outputs, outcomes and impact) Community needs/assets 5 6 1 4 3 2 Source: Kellogg Foundation, 2004

28 The Challenge: Work Differently

29 Highly Effective Communities
Reach for It Go with who you’ve got Hold the centre Keep the circle open Avoid the blame game Choose measureable outcomes Develop a sense of urgency and keep going

30 Shared Measurement Identify key measures that capture critical outcomes. Establish systems for gathering and analyzing measures. Create opportunities for “making-sense” of changes in indicators.

31 Thinking About Shared Measurement
Process: # of people/orgs at table, # of community presentations, articles, etc Progress: # of programs, # of new initiatives, etc Policy: policy changes in own or other organizations, new investments, gov. policy changes Population : # of people moved out of poverty, # of high school graduates, # of low birth weight babies

32 Thinking About Shared Measurement
Use your Theory of Change Tool as background Brainstorm what it would take to show that your collaborative was making progress on your issue or problem. Use the attached grid to determine where your shared measurements fit What do you observe?

33 Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Agreement on key outcomes. Orchestration and specialization. Complementary – sometimes “joined up” - strategies to achieve outcomes.

34 Memphis Fast Forward

35 Coordination in Saint John
Poverty Housing Transportation Education to Employment Early Childhood Development Workforce Development Neighborhood Renewal

36 Continuous Communication
Create formal and informal measures for keeping people informed Communication is open and reflect a diversity of styles Difficult issues are surfaced, discussed and addressed

37 In and Out Communication

38 Building the Case

39 Backbone Organization(s)
Guide vision & strategy Support aligned activities Established shared measurements Build public will Advance policy Mobilize funding Like a manager at a construction site who attends to the whole building while carpenters, plumbers and electricians come and go, the support staff keep the collaborative process moving along, even as the participants may change. Jay Conner Community Visions, Community Solutions: Grantmaking for Comprehensive Impact

40 Common Misperceptions about the Role of Backbone Organizations
The backbone organization sets the agenda for the group The backbone organization drives the solutions The backbone organization receives all the funding The role of backbone can be self appointed rather than selected by the community The role of backbone isn’t fundamentally different from “business as usual” in terms of staffing, time, and resources Source: FSG Interviews and Analysis

41 What will it Take?

42 Things to Consider in Collective Impact
Patient capital Persistence for longer term, systems change Align funders across sectors to common agenda Legitimize the work of the collaborative table No playbook, support and advance the skills and capacity of collaborative partners

43 Collective Impact Use collective impact as a framing tool Assess whether everyone in the collaborative is working on the same agenda Developing success measures (process and outcome indicators) Learn about what’s working and let go of those things that are not making an impact

44 Reflecting on Collective Impact
Think – Pair – Share What have I learned that I can apply to my collaborative partnerships? What other questions do I have?

45 Tamarack Learning Opportunities
Learn together through: Monthly tele-learning Seminars Engage! e-magazine Face-to-Face Learning Events Online Learning Communities Communities of Practice

46 Tamarack Learning Communities
Tamarack CCI For Collaborative Leaders who use collective impact approaches to address complex community issues. Vibrant Communities: Cities Reducing Poverty For Cities that develop and implement comprehensive poverty reduction strategies Seeking Community For individuals who care about community, the vibrancy of neighbourhoods and the unique role of citizens in social change.

47 Deepening Community – Just Released!
Read the latest book by Paul Born President of Tamarack Institute If you do, here are some fun ways to get involved in the Deepening Community campaign: Read the book & post a short review on,,, or iBook Go to the “Get Involved” page on Write a post about your thoughts/ideas on the book or on your experiences of community at Wishing you joy as you deepen community!

48 Upcoming Tamarack Learning Events
Learn more & register:

49 Additional Resources Follow my blog: Regular updates about Collaboration and Collective Impact are posted on Tamarack Learning Communities Sites: Stanford Social Innovation Review articles on Collective Impact: FSG Social Impact Consultants: Collective Impact Forum:

50 Additional Resources on Collective Impact
FSG – collective impact resources - Resources for Backbones - Rural Communities Resources -

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