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Stanford Social Innovation Review | Fall 2014

Since the initial publication of “Collective Impact” in Stanford Social Innovation Review (Winter 2011), collective impact has gained tremendous momentum as a cross-sector approach to solving social and environmental problems on a large scale. Here, a compilation of 9 articles from leaders in the space summarize the current state of the field, lessons learned, and implications related to public policy, evaluation, and more.

Top Takeaways

  1. To achieve large-scale change, collective impact initiatives must disrupt the status quo and carefully consider power dynamics.
  2. Effective use of the collective impact approach requires a fundamental mindset shift with respect to how practitioners design and implement their work, how funders incentivize and engage with grantees, and how policymakers bring solutions to a large scale.
  3. Collective impact is still in its early stages and some aspects are undergoing a process of refinement, bringing enhanced rigor to its structure, implementation, and evaluation, as well as clarity surrounding the essential roles of funders and government.
To be effective, collective impact must consider who is engaged, how they work together, and how progress happens.