Working as an Ecosystem

While much of the focus at the national level in the U.S. is on hyper-partisanship and polarization, a less heralded story is the growing rise of collaborative networks that allow many people and organizations to work effectively on common goals. As Tom Atlee summarized here, these networks include multiple sectors (public, private, and civil society)… Read more

Building a Shared Understanding of How Systems Work

I’ve just returned from the kick-off gathering of a collective impact initiative with the United Way of Greater New Bedford. A series of three community gatherings for input (as described in this blog) and other meetings with stakeholders led us to focus of how can we help families thrive, with a focus in one neighborhood. We… Read more

Collective Impact at a Community Scale: United Way of Greater New Bedford

United Way organizations around the country are reinventing the role they play in their communities from their traditional role of fundraising for social service agencies through workplace campaigns. As this paper, Charting a Course for Change describes, United Ways are serving as a community convener, engaging local partners (e.g., residents, businesses, local government, social service… Read more

Collective Impact: Emerging Issues and Challenges from the Field

Last week, the Leadership Learning Community sponsored a beautifully-facilitated gathering in Boston to celebrate the launch of its new publication Leadership & Collective Impact. The room of about 25 people included network weavers, organizational consultants, funders, writers, community organizers – all working in some way to advance collective impact and network approaches to social change…. Read more

Getting Beyond the Plan that "Sits on a Shelf"

After 20 years of consulting, I have dedicated a lot of time to developing action plans and reports. Like me, thousands of people have devoted countless hours of meetings, research, and writing to develop plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, implementing a sustainability strategy, etc. You know the reports with goals, specific recommendations, nice graphics,… Read more

Collective Impact – An Idea Whose Time Has Come

In the Midwest, a group of foundations and non-profits decided to try an experiment – instead of individual foundations placing grants with individual non-profits, they came together to create a coordinated network to pursue the ambitious long-term goal of reducing regional global warming emissions 80 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2050. The Garfield Foundation, one… Read more