Collective Impact

“Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.” – Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2011

Collective Impact is a collaboration framework that engages across sectors and groups who share a common interest to address a complex social issue, in a given community. The concept was first articulated in by John Kania and Mark Kramer in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011. That article outlines five key elements in a collective impact initiative:

  1. A common social agenda
  2. A shared measurement framework
  3. A shared plan of action for mutually reinforcing activities
  4. Open communication fostering genuine collaboration
  5. A backbone organisation with the skills and resources to keep everyone on track.

While a relatively simple framework, the execution of these five elements takes considerable time, skill, and resources.

See this short video explaining the key elements of collective impact:

Key Players and Resources

In Australia, Collaboration for Impact has developed an integrated Collaborative Change Cycle that articulates the phases and stages of an effective collaborative change process in the context of collective impact initiatives.

Globally, the Tamarack Institute (Canada), and FSG (USA) are key players in the development of the field and the Collective Impact Forum in the USA seeks to gather and support those practising collective impact.

Some useful articles include:

Case Studies

Examples of collective impact in practice can be found at: