The Five Conditions of Collective Impact

You have probably heard that Grow Smarter uses a Collective Impact approach to create equitable economic growth. But what is Collective Impact?

Collective Impact was first introduced by a Stanford Social Innovation Review article in 2011 and has since been used to solve community challenges around equity, education, public health, and environmental issues.  Collective Impacts use cross-sector collaboration to address complex social issues.

While Grow Smarter’s uses a Collective Impact approach to build equitable economic growth in St. Petersburg, Collective Impacts take on a wide variety of issues and exist in different cultural, political, and geographic contexts. All, however, have five basic conditions outlined below:


1. A Common Agenda: Although Collective Impacts are made up of organizations with their own goals and initiatives, when these organizations come together as a collective they establish a definition of the problem they are trying to solve and have a shared vision for how to solve it.


2. Shared Measures: Collective Impacts agree on a way to track progress as a group.  This allows them to show success and continuously improve.


3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Organizations that are part of a Collective Impact have their own events and initiative, but these efforts are coordinated to reduce duplication of efforts and maximize the end result.


4. Continuous Communication: In order to build trust among all involved, Collective Impacts emphasize continuous communication at all levels.


5. A Strong Backbone: To get things done you need to have dedicated individuals who have the time to organize and execute the work of the collective.  Collecting and analyzing data, facilitating workgroup meetings, and planning event logistics are all tasks of a strong backbone.


If you are interested in learning more about Collective Impact, a great resource to turn to is the Collective Impact Forum.

Check on this video titled “Practitioner Insights: Why Collective Impact” or this report that looks at the implementation and results of 25 different Collective Impacts.

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