Collective Impact


Collaboration is a term tossed around community tables and within organizations with ease, because at the root, we know it’s the right thing to do…and if we are dealing with limited resources it may be desperation to survive that forces you to the table initially, but it’s the collective impact that keeps you there. Could we impact with greater strength if we explore what collaboration in the form of collective impact looks like, feels like, and offers communities who dare to go beyond collaboration?

Collective impact by definition looks like this; “long-term commitments by a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem” Kania & Kramer.

With the 2016 CHNA behind us we now look to partner with organizations who are implementing strategies that will “solve a specific social problem.” The problems we surfaced from community assessments and focus groups have been reframed to reflect what it is we want to grow rather than the problems themselves. It’s looking at the problem from the other side. The “important actors from different sectors” are building resilient and healthy communities (schools, classrooms, work departments, family systems, neighborhoods etc.).

Collective impact, according to Kania & Kramer, has five conditions that if met will lead to a higher probability that the work to address a problem will be successful over time. The conditions are common agenda, shared measurement system, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and backbone support organization.

With Mayo Clinic Health System as the “backbone support organization”, Mower Refreshed has developed over the past six years to reflect the five conditions. This collective impact initiative continues to evolve as relationships are strengthened. It’s through these trusted relationships that competition, selfish recognition, and silos are diminished and tables are created for the common good.

Look at the tables you sit at. Consider being the “important actor” that challenges the folks at the table to take time to consider how collective impact might bring about sustainable changes rather than reactive short term solutions. Big challenges require courageous people.

– Be courageous.

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