I’ve just finished reading the article by Jeff Edmondson titled “The Difference between Collaboration and Collective Impact”. The author is the Managing Director of StriveTogether, an organization with an extensive network that assists communities to make positive changes. Edmondson clearly explains in this article the concept of building civic infrastructure via the concept of collective impact.
The idea of moving from collaboration to collective impact resonated with me, as it has been my experience that collaboration between organizations is usually due to an issue that affects everyone. Organizations join in productive dialogue and begin to develop a level of trust required when dealing with a complex issue. They begin to create something new to address the issue, and their rationale is that what they’re doing at the present moment isn’t working. More often than not, these initiatives often floundered after a while and could not be sustainable.
The author highlights three main points, which differentiates collaboration from collective impact. The first point is that Collective Impact actually moves forward past collaboration, and begins to analyze established outcomes and the creation of new ones. This new perspective will assist organizations in aligning themselves with new outcomes that accurately reflect what organizations are striving to achieve.
The second point involves data to improve services, not just proving that services are a necessity. It appears to me that the Collective Impact approach will assist organizations in achieving their outcomes consistently over time. In fact, this approach will sustain itself as continuous efforts to improve outcomes will naturally occur because organizations will critique their service delivery, review their strengths and weaknesses, and work towards change.
The third point that Edmondson highlights is that collaboration is one more thing you do on top of everything else. Collective Impact becomes part of what you do every day. He emphasizes how data collected is used daily, with the end result being an integration of practices that produces results daily. Ensuring that one has accurate information will enhance services presently being offered.
The author summarizes the article by pointing out that collective impact involves advocating for those practices, which produce results. Community Partners leverage their impact through data to enhance existing practices, rather than create new ones. Jeff Edmondson provides a different perspective on the value of organizations working on a common goal.