On our blog, Collective Impact Forum staff, partners, and guest contributors share the latest learning, innovations, and stories from the field.


  • At the Speed of Trust – Part 1

    Cara Priestley

    December 9, 2014

    We hear a lot about the five conditions of collective impact (CI); however, the more I’m exposed to CI work the more I realize CI is as much about the intangible elements as it is about process, rigor, and outcomes. The beauty of collective impact is watching a diverse set of stakeholders, who may be previously unknown to one another, break bread at the same table – they share successes, failures, hopes and dreams for their community (however they define it). The way people work together and the relationships they build with one another are critical to success. Lack of trust can derail the best intentioned CI efforts and stop forward progress in its tracks.
  • Don’t Talk to Me about "Driving" Social Change

    John Kania

    November 24, 2014

    I recently met with the former head of a major pharmaceutical company to talk about improving the lives of kids. This well regarded executive was excited to invest a significant amount of his time, post his tenure at the helm of a Fortune 500 company, in leading an effort to address youth substance abuse.* I was energized by his passion and fervor for the issue, and his true desire to use his platform and experience as a leader to make a difference. But I was troubled by his orientation towards the leadership he felt was required. “We need to drive these evidenced based practices through the system, from top to bottom," he said. “We need to force communities to understand what’s good for them.” Uh, oh, I thought to myself. Yet one more well-intentioned, influential individual in society who wants to bring about change for the better, but just doesn’t get how social change happens.
  • Relearning the Two-Step of Conversation and Meeting

    Ted Lord

    November 6, 2014

    Paul Schmitz’s recent essay makes a strong case that “collective impact efforts must be as rigorous about culture as they are about data and strategy.” His five recommended practices—collaboration; inclusion; community engagement, continuous learning; integrity—all seem related to my observation that conversation is the missing secret sauce in forging community-based sustainable change.
  • Four Insights on How Collective Impact, Community Engagement & Racial Equity Intersect

    Juan Sebastian Arias

    October 28, 2014

    At Living Cities, we spend a lot of time thinking about how to change the systems that consistently produce poverty, income inequality, and all their related disparities. One of our core beliefs is that the seemingly intractable problems facing cities today can only be addressed when decision-makers from across different sectors come together around a common vision to re-engineer the systems that produce these outcomes in the first place. This approach - also known as collective impact - is one that Living Cities has been testing in the social sector over the past several years.
  • The Culture of Collective Impact

    Paul Schmitz

    October 23, 2014

    Last summer, I spoke at a conference of funders convened by the Collective Impact Forum. To prepare for the event, I contacted several trusted leaders in different communities who had been involved at various levels in collective impact initiatives. I heard enthusiastically about the promise of collective impact, but I also heard comments like those above that led me to a conviction: collective impact efforts must be as rigorous about culture as they are about data and strategy if they wish to achieve enduring change.
  • View from the Summit

    Larry Gemmel

    October 23, 2014

    A brief overview of key ideas emerging from the Collective Impact Summit organized by the Tamarack Institute in Toronto, Canada, from 6-10 Oct 2014
  • Empowering Emerging Leaders: An Interview with Shape Up Somerville

    David Hudson

    October 20, 2014

    Shape Up Somerville, along with its partners – Groundwork Somerville (GWS), Somerville Community Health Agenda (SCHA), and The Welcome Project (TWP), launched an innovative leadership program to better reach community members in traditionally Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. The Collective Impact Forum sat down with Shape Up Somerville Director David Hudson to discuss the impetus for this program and what lessons SUS has learned.