I was one of more than 250 delegates from around the world who attended the 2015 Collective Impact Summit in Vancouver. I came to the CIS 2015 with three primary questions:
- Does Collective Impact offer a viable model for building and sustaining large scale social change?
- Does Collective Impact require a top-down approach or are there opportunities for it to include a strengths-based, bottom-up approach?
- What is the role of government in Collective Impact initiatives?
As an Executive Officer with Auckland North Community and Development, I am one of a core group representing some twenty agencies who are working together to create The Auckland North Family Violence Prevention CI Project. Our shared goal is to develop a new way of working together to prevent family violence in Auckland North using a Collective Impact approach.
My summary report of this Gathering is both my personal account of 5 days of experience of the Tamarack Summit as well as Tamarack's own documented highlights. I have been deeply inspired by the stories shared by practitioners from around the world.
I believe that in the years ahead Collective Impact is going to continue to gain worldwide popularity as a framework that can make a significant difference to communities. I appreciate the many useful online resources now available and recognize both Tamarack and FSG in America as leading experts in this developing field. My scepticism of it driving too much of a top down approach has been allayed as it appears you can work with a strength‐based, bottom up approach.
I have come to deeply appreciate that the difference between the possible and impossible depends on a person's determination. Specifically, this means that:
- Progress is not always clear but always iterative
- We need to get rid of the notion of a 'white coat evaluator'!
- Power of building space of community
- Collective impact is moving change in scale - Little efforts, big results!
- We all benefit from stories of the success of things.
My questions regarding the role of government have been answered, in part, by noting the success that Tamarack appears to have gained across Canada for its work with Vibrant Communities. I fear it may be challenging to get the same support here in NZ, but time will tell.
I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time and have returned inspired by the many success stories I heard.