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

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  • Exploring Collective Impact – Perspectives from The Philanthropist

    Larry Gemmel

    July 10, 2014

    Since its introduction in the Winter 2011 edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, the theory of collective impact presented by FSG consultants John Kania and Mark Kramer (2011) has attracted considerable attention in the United States, Canada, and around the world. According to Regina Starr Ridley, Publishing Director, "Collective Impact is SSIR's most viewed article with close to 300,000 page views, more than any other article SSIR has published.” The framework certainly has resonance with many people in the social sector, and its potential promise of fostering innovation and addressing complex social issues has spawned a virtual movement of those adopting the approach and eager to learn more. But is collective impact merely a re-branding of collaborative approaches that have been used for years, or does this model provide new insights and techniques that will in fact break through on some of the most intractable problems affecting western societies?
  • 8 Yummy Tensions of Collective Impact

    Tynesia Boyea-Robinson

    July 8, 2014

    I had the great fortune of attending the first learning community of the Working Cities Challenge (WCC), an initiative led by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston to advance collaborative leadership and support ambitious work to improve the lives of low-income people in smaller Massachusetts cities. Passionate leaders talked through a number of challenging issues that have the potential to sow bitterness and discord in collective impact Initiatives. By addressing the conflicts and holding the tensions in balance, that bitterness can become a sweet recipe for catalyzing enduring change.
  • The Tango of Collective Impact

    Liz Weaver

    June 23, 2014

    This weekend, I had the pleasure of watching couples dance the tango in a public square in London. The intricacies of the dance, coupled with the individual styles of each dance partner made for an intriguing couple of hours. As each new song filled the square, the couples would wait for a few strands of the music and then proceed to move together. Often with their eyes closed, each couple moved around the dance floor.
  • The New Science of Evaluating Collective Impact

    Srik Gopalakrishnan

    June 5, 2014

    In her seminal book, Leadership and the New Science, Margaret Wheatley takes a stance regarding the kind of leadership that is required in today’s world. She urges readers to stop clinging to the limits of “Newtonian” science and embrace the science of systems and complexity. Wheatley writes,
  • The Types of Problems Suited for Collective Impact

    Jennifer Splansky Juster

    May 14, 2014

    I am often asked – should we adopt a collective impact approach in our work? While we have seen that the collective impact approach can be critical to achieving significant large-scale change, it is not always the right approach. Although every situation is context specific, the four questions below can help you determine if collective impact makes sense for your work.
  • Stopping for Directions on the Collective Impact Journey

    Marcie Parkhurst

    May 5, 2014

    Across the globe, hundreds of people and organizations are using collective impact to address a range of complex problems, such as climate change, poverty, and juvenile detention. Some of the practitioners and funders involved in these initiatives have recently begun their collective impact journeys; others are well on their way. But all of them share a common challenge: once their journey has begun, how can they know how far they’ve travelled, how close they are to their destination, and which way they should go next?
  • Want Greater Impact? Have a Conversation First

    Ted Lord

    April 23, 2014

    Collective Impact, philanthropy’s flavor of the day, has entered its back-biting season — a positive sign, given that push back is often a signal that a creative disruption is working. In this blog post, I’ll parse why the funder community has so enthusiastically embraced Collective Impact and how it has already produced learnings that we shouldn’t throw out when its season as the shiny new thing inevitably ends.

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