Posted Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Forming a steering committee and creating a common agenda is hard work.  I know this from personal experience of having supported multiple initiatives in their early stages.  For example, in Kent County, Michigan, we worked with an emerging collective impact initiative called KConnect.  Agreeing upon components of a common agenda, such as a vision statement, required steering committee members to grapple with fundamentally different ways of viewing the world (e.g., should we define our ultimate goal in terms of happiness, jobs, or graduation rates?).  Yet despite these challenges, creating a common agenda can be very inspiring because everything is possible.  After all, we don’t yet have to think about implementation!

But what happens after the vision has been agreed upon?  How do you create an infrastructure that can make progress toward achieving the common agenda?  The answers to these questions may not always be apparent, but there are some basic principles that can guide collective impact practitioners.

This transition in the life of an initiative is the subject of our new article Committing to Collective Impact: From Vision to Implementation.  In the article, written as a practical tool for practitioners, my colleague Jennifer Splansky Juster and I discuss:

  • The structure for implementing collective impact
  • Considerations when determining which working groups to create to pursue the common agenda, and when to launch them
  • How to identify stakeholders best suited to serve on working groups
  • How working groups can succeed in their first six months

The article appears in the spring edition of Community Investments, which is dedicated entirely to the theme of “collective action for community development.”  Community Investments is a publication of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and widely read in the community development field.

What are your thoughts on the article?  Are there any other pieces of advice you would give fellow CI practitioners?