September 27, 2021

The Bayside, Glen Eira and Kingston (BGK) LLENS were interested in exploring what the Collective impact model could contribute to their work of brokering strategic partnerships with schools and community to support disengaging or disengaged young people to thrive.

Thank you BGKLLEN for the opportunity for OPEN to deliver an introduction session to your staff and Board of Management on Collective impact – introduction to the framework, key drivers and tools.

The session was really interesting with great comments for the group and growing excitement about the potential value provided by Collective Impact insights and tools.

While place-based strategic partnerships have been delivered for some time in Australia, the Collective impact approach provides a systematic architecture to building and sustaining collective impact initiatives, with particular focus on effective collaborative practice. Of note, this model focuses on collaborative practice, iterative plan-do-review-improve cycles familiar to human centred design and emphasises measurement throughout to clarify intent, assess change and identify learning.

In our view these features build on and address the biggest challenges present in previous place-based partnership work.  Collective impact models provide new ways of thinking about these challenges, key enabling features to support success and most importantly a raft of tools to dip in and out of as challenges emerge.

Definition: Collective impact is about making an impact together, working in a structured way, to achieve common goals towards social change (Collective Impact
Drivers: Modern complex issues are not addressed by traditional approaches – we need new responses which take a more holistic, systems and client centric perspective

Five key elements

  • Common agenda
  • Shared measurement
  • Mutually reinforcing activities
  • Continuous communication
  • Backbone Support

Collective impact is a shift from management (focus on activities and outputs) to movement building through collaboration (focus on collective outcomes). It works towards collaborative mindset and practices – at times our systems can get in the way – we need to actively work on this – it won’t just happen.

What needs to happen?

  • Requires cross sector decision making partnerships – sharing power to contribute to a shared outcome
  • Recognition of the importance of ‘backbone support’ – tasked and resourced to enable the partnership
  • Underpinned by collective planning and design (co-design) – including partners, community, key stakeholders and networks
  • Focus on continuous strategic learning and ongoing capacity building in a new way of working

Check out this video, for a quick snapshot on collective impact!

Things to consider:

  • Is collective Impact appropriate for your needs?
    • Presence of core partners committed to change
    • A social issue requiring cross sector concerted action
    • Effective progress requires systems change and alignment and coordination cross section
    • New innovative responses are needed
  • Are some of the preconditions in place?
    • Presence of influential champions able to inspire cross sector collaboration,
    • Presence of resources to support planning and backbone infrastructure,
    • Urgency to address this issue in new and different ways
    • Strong relationships between orgs already in place,
    • Commitment to using data and collecting evidence

Key resources to explore further:


Collective Impact Forum Collective Impact Forum | Home

Tamarack Institute (Canada)

Community Tool Box

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.

Australia Institute for Family Studies

Centre for Community Child health – “Policy Brief – Place Based Collective Impact: an Australian response to childhood vulnerability 2018 –