Yesterday, we attended an afternoon workshop exploring the big picture dynamics of effecting social change. We and others got a look at “Collective Impact.”
As the Stanford Social Innovation Review states: Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”
In simpler terms, it’s a process of bringing a bunch of disconnected entities who may have similar goals for social change together to establish “a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration,” according to Wikipedia.
Last evening, while looking through The Merchandiser, we thought this article about two local organizations that came together for a common goal, represented a sort of “micro-version” of the collective impact that remembers noted Columbia artist, Lloyd Mifflin.
SOURCE: The Collaborative Impact Forum
At least one other person who shares a vision of what could be for achieving social change locally attended the workshop too. Others – elected public servants, municipal employees, school board members, economic development volunteers, boaters, renters, landlords, home owners, business owners and all community shareholders – would benefit from learning more about collective impact.
Maybe, just maybe, collective impact offers the platform that Columbia needs to achieve positive social change. It’s certainly worth a look at:
- a common agenda,
- shared measurement metrics,
- mutually reinforcing activities,
- continuous, open, transparent communications with all shareholders and
- a team without ulterior motives, dedicated to orchestrating the work of the group to a common good.
We’re reminded of another great management illustration, a classic parable about the value of having a common vision and getting there.
“Please, would you tell me,” said Alice, a little timidly, … “why your cat grins like that?”
“It’s a Cheshire cat,” said the Duchess, “and that’s why.”
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where –” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“– so long as I get somewhere,” Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “otherwise you wouldn’t have come here.”
SOURCE: Alice in Wonderland, an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll.