Collective Impact

Collective Impact enables a group of organizations to address a major challenge by developing and working toward a common agenda that fundamentally changes population level outcomes in a community.  When successful, communities solve big complex challenges (e.g., youth unemployment, low graduation rates, poverty) or make substantial societal shifts (e.g., more sustainable food systems) by creating a shared multi sector understanding of the problem, a common vision and an action plan with shared measurements and reinforcing activities.

Collective Impact initiatives aim to generate significant population level outcomes such as raising graduations rates by 10% points, cutting youth unemployment in a neighborhood in half, or doubling local food production and consumption. Achieving these outcomes requires sufficient participation of community members effected by the issue, community organizations, business and government leaders. Communities interested in implementing a Collective Impact approach should ensure that they have appropriate capacity including influential multi sector leaders engaged in the process; that the issue being addressed is considered urgent and important and that there are adequate resources to support implementation.

In their Stanford Social Innovation Review paper called Collective Impact, John Kania and Mark Kramer of FSG Social Impact Consultants also identified five conditions for collective impact initiatives. Innoweave has adapted these five conditions to underscore the need for common outcomes goals and approaches:

  • Community level outcome goals (Priority # 1)
  • A clear model of how to work together to achieve those goals  (Priority # 2)

Once defined, these are supported by:

  • Shared measurement of outcomes and leading indicators
  • Continuous communication and improvement
  • Backbone coordination and support

Collective impact generally requires the engagement of leaders from across different sectors of the community.  When bringing diverse leaders together, collective impact requires increased focus on the building of relationships and the use of data to inform and measure progress.

Seniors Hub Model: An Example of Collective Impact

The South Vancouver Seniors Hub, on ongoing project of the South Vancouver Seniors Council, is a community development approach that connects seniors and organizations at the neighbourhood level with the purpose of supporting seniors’ independence and active participation in the community. The Hub is a network that brings together seniors from diverse backgrounds and experiences, community agencies and other institutions to engage, serve, and address issues pertaining to seniors. The Hub is an example of collective impact and social innovation.