Collective Impact in New Zealand
Flightdec websites can provide assistance for a much more collaborative approach to solving complex community-wide issues. At the same time it can help individual organisations to overcome some of their isolation and to participate in working with others for a common good.
From the outset the motivations and guiding principles of collaboration need to be apparent. That’s where the Collective Impact model, which was originally developed by FSG (a US based consulting organisation) provides a framework for building and sustaining community activity.
What is Collective Impact?
Positive social change around complex issues requires a shift from the isolated impact of individual organisations to a more coordinated cross-sector approach. In simple terms Collective Impact occurs when organisations agree to solve a specific social or community problem using a common agenda, aligning their efforts, and using common measures of success. It goes well beyond a desire to work collaboratively; rather it employs a high level of trust, communication and interconnection.
Collective Impact initiatives are currently being employed to address a wide variety of issues around the world and we have seen its introduction in New Zealand by many local communities, such as in Porirua’s Shine movement, which is supported by Flightdec and the Our Porirua online community.
Flightdec can provide online infrastructure and communications support for Collective Impact initiatives and participating organisations, through allowing participating websites to share content with each other. This can be dynamic content, such as blogs, articles and events, through to more static content, such as libraries of resources information that can be curated at the source and curated in receiving websites (filtered for relevance).
In many Collective Impact programmes, social media is used as the dominant communications tool, however, while social media’s strengths are in interactive immediacy and access to large audiences, its weaknesses are now becoming clearer. There is a lack of accessibility for all citizens, an inability to adequately provide sensible archiving, messages are fleeting (seen-and-gone), data can be misappropriated, and algorithms tend to create mindless popularity echo chambers. In addition, people may be free to use a social media platform but they can never claim to own that digital space or any of the shared content.
On the other hand, a dynamically connected website can be fully owned and controlled by the website owner and the content is available to anyone with a web browser.
It should be noted that an approach which puts websites at the centre of a communications programme does not negate the use of other communications channels, including the sensible use of social media and email. In fact it strengthens the use of other channels.
Over the page is an outline of our deliverables set against the five Collective Impact conditions.
The five conditions of Collective Impact
All participants have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Participating activities must be differentiated while still being coordinated through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organisation/s with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies.
Providing a central (and scalable and replicable) place for the community to share the vision for change and to view actionable reminders of a common agenda.
Providing real-time checks and reports on progress displayed against the shared vision of the common agenda.
Mutually Reinforcing Activities
Respecting individual diversity, while turning shared discussions into shared actions through assisting participants to promote, propose, interact, report and problem-solve.
Providing both central and decentralised spaces where activities, news, ideas, proposals and resources are shared, debated and archived in real time.
Providing unlimited communications space for up-to-date and interactive information exchange that is stitched into the Collective Impact organisational structure, while also serving the particular needs of other participating organisations and agencies
By emphasising meaningful interconnection and collaboration, supported by online connectivity and communications, Flightdec adds a sixth condition:
Using agreed terms (words and phrases) to frame actions, and interactions, streamlines communications, assists mutual understandings and reinforces all of the above.