The Five conditions of Collective Success

Successful collective impact initiatives typically have five conditions that together produce true alignment and lead to powerful results:

  1. Common Agenda | Collective impact requires all participants to have a shared vision for change, one that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
  2. Shared Measurement Systems | Developing a shared measurement system is essential to collective impact. This means data is collected and results measured consistently on a short list of indicators at the community level and across all participating organisations to ensure all efforts remain aligned.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities | Collective impact initiatives depend on a diverse group of stakeholders working together, not by requiring that all participants do the same thing, but by encouraging each participant to undertake the specific set of activities at which it excels in a way that supports and is coordinated with the actions of others.
  4. Continuous Communication | Developing trust among different organisations and sectors is a monumental challenge. Participants need to build up enough experience with each other to recognize and appreciate the common motivation behind their different efforts. They need time to see that their own interests will be treated fairly, and that decisions will be made on the basis of objective evidence and the best possible solution to the problem.
  5. Backbone Support Organisations | Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organisation and staff with a very specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative. Coordination takes time, and none of the participating organisations has any to spare. The expectation that collaboration can occur without a supporting infrastructure is one of the most frequent reasons why it fails.

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