Collective Impact in the CIRTL INCLUDES DDLP: Lessons Learned

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Social problems are complex, adaptive, and difficult to solve. Diverse, cross-sector organizations are needed to solve them, but with that comes the challenge of bringing together different styles and processes and people with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and world views.

Collective impact is a process that intentionally coalesces ideas and approaches, and creates common structures and elements, through an equitable, cyclical operation.

The following diagram shows the guiding principles of collective impact, ways of assessing whether these principles have been met, and the anticipated impact if the principles have been met successfully. From these principles, we have developed several metrics (PDF) to measure progress in collective impact over the course of the project.

We utilized five primary strategies to implement a Collective Impact approach in the CIRTL INCLUDES DDLP project. These included: defining CI and key terms, practicing CI principles (as a whole group and within strategic goal groups), advancing social equity, communicating across strategic goal teams, and engaging in improvement cycles.

We focused on collective impact in our SGTs in the following ways:

  • SG1 – community building, decision making, goal setting, strategy prioritizing
  • SG2 – pre-work shared vision and goal alignment, community building, common measures
  • SG3 – mapping, deliberate exploration of data (maps), exploration of common needs