Published by Peggy on 23 Mar 2011 at 03:52 pm
Today brought together 300 people in Standford to discuss large scale social change across sectors. I was amazed to see such a diverse group of individuals, from funders to NGO leaders, government representatives and many more. This conference was presented by FSG and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. I deeply thank them for making a live stream of the conference.
[This is taken from the SSIR website.] Substantially greater progress could be made in alleviating many of our most serious and complex social problems if nonprofits, foundations, governments, and business focused on achieving broad cross sector coordination, instead of focusing on the isolated interventions of individual organizations (”Collective Impact,” Stanford Social Innovation Review).
This conference together brought a diverse group of senior level executives to explore the opportunities and challenges of collective impact.
THE FIVE CONDITIONS OF COLLECTIVE SUCCESS
John Kenia shared the 5 conditions that came coming back through all the examples they surveyed:
- Common Agenda: To succeed in creative a collective impact, it is key that the skateholders have a common agenda. They need to spend time together defining the problem and agree to solve the problem together. It is also very important that to frame the issue from a compeling way.
- Joint Measurement They had some forms of joint measurement. Those indicators also went done to each individual organization
- Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Collective impact initiatives depend on a diverse group of stakeholders working together. Not everyone need to do the same thing.
- Continuous Communication: In the examples they witnessed, CEOs of the organizations involved had regular monthly meetings. Collaborators need time to see that their own interests will be treated fairly.
- Backbone Organization: The successful examples of cross sector collaborations had a backbone organization. This is critical. The backbone organization is in charge of facilitating the work within the collective, tracking the results and progress.
A more complete analysis is available here.
Role of funders in collective impact
Ed Skloot moderated a fantastic panel around the roles of funders in the collective impact.
- We need to create a pathway for opportunities: one can start with what people know and grow from that
- The collective impact needs to translate back to the people. When there is no sense of urgency, it is harden to get people together. When it is so urgent, people come together.
- Another important question to ask ourselves is how do we build trust?
- Make sure the community sees the construct
- In order to get to scale, we need partners
- Building trust is as important & complicated as collecting data- Takes time & resources
Emmett Carson, CEO of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation talked about how we are better together: “When the best of us come together, we are even better. However we do not know how to measure the best of us, we can’t come together. Realistically I do not know who to invite?. Unless I know something about someone, they will not come to my house.”
He also asked us to think about the measurement: who decides the measurements that decides what is important?. This is essential when you think of lack of alignment.
Sterling Speirn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, shared a great quote from Mark Twain “History does not repeat itself but rhythm.”
Sterling shared that the field has struggled for a long time around bringing cross sector collaborations. Here are some of the comments and suggestions he made:
- Donors are not accountable. We should start by becoming more accountable.
- What ever you do might fit into the common agenda. Don’t change what you do.
- It’s not what works, to me it’s more the question of who cares.
MY OWN TAKEWAY
- Importance of building credibility instead of taking credit. I am in full agreement with this statement although I believe there needs to be a drastic shift from the Funders’s perspective as non-profits still needed to claim credit in order to get funding
- Leveraging existing resources
- What makes a movement ripe for collective impact approach? Data, trust, failure, passion, ownership
- Collective Impact is a sticky idea!
- Clarity is critical = Who is everyone’s role? What is everyone trying to accomplish?
- We need to shift from thinking about tech solutions to adaptive solutions
It is the people that have the problem who need to fix the problem. It needs to come within
- If you are willing to embrace multiple solution, you are ready for collective impact
- “Collective Impact” By John Kania & Mark Kramer : this is the original article that led to this conference.
- “The power of positive deviance” by Jerry Sternin, Richard Pascale and Monique Sternin.
- “The abundant community” by Peter Block, recommended through the Twitter Sphere by Marco Valente
- “The Answer to How Is Yes: Acting On What Matters” by Peter Block. This book was recommended by Sterling Speirn, CEO of W. K. Kellogg Foundation
- Report card on www.strivetogether.org for data on collective impact: cradle-to-career progress.
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Tags: collective impact, cross sector collaboration, Emmett Carson, Seattle Community Foundation, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Sterling Speirn, W. K. Kellogg Foundation
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