3 Comments

  1. Hi Stephen,

    Interesting post. Certainly Collective Impact has been getting a lot of attention in Australia, particularly in the wake of the Collective Impact Conference in February.

    Having looked over some of the case studies and other material at http://collectiveimpactaustralia.com, the ingredients that seem to be stressed are diversity of stakeholders (i.e. bringing more than the usual suspects to the table), data (i.e. actually measuring what is going on rather than speculating) and time (i.e. these processes seem to spend a lot of time talking and building trust and shared problem definition before acting). Those all look like good things to me, but I agree that they are not specific to Collective Impact but are really just elements of good collaborative practice.

    I agree with your point that sometimes the appeal is just to have a rallying point to move beyond the in-fighting or stuckness of the existing system. Maybe a high-level framework is all that’s needed for that, and the details are something that each project needs to work out itself.

    Have you looked at any of the case studies at http://collectiveimpactaustralia.com? Would be interesting to see what they’ve done and how successful it’s been.

    Cheers, Chris

  2. Stephen McGrail

    Thanks Chris, I’ll take a look at the case studies. I’m genuinely curious, wondering what all the fuss it about… and wondering what’s driving the interest…

    It really just seems like “old wine” (collaboration practices) in “new bottles” (‘collective impact’), with very little substance. What’s worse proponents equate using and testing the practice to the scientific method which seems to me to be rather misguided (see video http://collectiveimpactaustralia.com/about/).

    Stephen

  3. Stephen McGrail

    Oh, one more thing. The approach is also similar in many ways to roadmapping exercises. A good roadmap is typically developed collaboratively by involved stakeholders, and outlines: a set of common goals / objectives, a consistent set of concrete agreed actions to achieve these shared objectives, and clearly defined roles for each stakeholder for implementation. The most well-known case is the use of roadmapping by the semiconductor industry. In this case strong coordination is achieved without a clear “backbone” organisation, although one org (SEMATECH) does manage the process, see: http://www.itrs.net/about.html

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