The Collective Impact (CI) approach recognizes that complex social and environmental issues, like the opioid crisis, cannot be solved by one sector alone. Instead, CI promotes multi-sector collaboration characterized by a common agenda, common progress measures, continuous communication, and mutually reinforcing activities. This collaborative work is facilitated and supported by a backbone organization in the community.
Collective Impact was first introduced in 2011 by John Kania and Mark Kramer as a framework – a vehicle for change. The premise was that no one person or entity can solve the increasingly complex social problems facing communities. To read Kania and Kramer’s original journal article on Collective Impact, click below:
Since Collective Impact was first introduced, people are continuing to push the framework forward – and even expand upon the initial framework. The following journal article argues for moving beyond Collective Impact by offering principles that seek new ways to engage communities in collaborative action. To read the article, click below:
The premise of Collective Impact is that no one person or entity can solve the increasingly complex social problems facing communities. However, we know that many of these complex social problems, such as the opioid crisis, can also be categorized as ‘wicked’ problems. Coined in a 1973 journal article by Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber, these are those complex social issues that are particularly difficult to address. Some characteristics of a wicked problem are: it is impossible to formulate all the information needed to understand and solve the problem; there is no clear way to know as a problem solver when your job is ended; there are no true/false solutions; and every wicked problem is unique.
To read Rittel and Webber’s original journal article on wicked problems, click below:
Leading Collective Impact Initiatives
Leading Collective Impact initiatives, particularly those seeking to address a wicked problem, can be challenging. However, understanding the Collective Impact approach can help to make this role less intimidating. To think of leading in terms of convening partners, facilitating the work, and showing others how they can be part of the effort (bringing them along), Collective Impact encourages leaders to both lead and share leadership responsibly within the system.
Below is a video and the accompanying slides on "The Role of Leadership in Making the Case for the CCIM4C Initiative". Additionally, Brook Manville’s 2016 article entitled, “Six Leadership Practices for ‘Wicked’ Problem Solving,” referenced in the video, is also included below.
Resources and Materials:
Click the image below to view "The Role of Leadership in Making the Case for the CCIM4C Initiative" video:
Creating an Ecosystem
Part of Collective Impact under the CCIM4C is understanding that the role of the backbone organization is not only to help lead the initiative but also to facilitate the work and act as a system integrator. To keep up with the ever-changing environment of wicked problems, such as the opioid crisis, we have to work together to develop and implement innovative solutions. Bringing people together to collaborate through Collective Impact offers the most bang for your buck –multiple sectors with differing expertise come together to develop solutions for the opioid crisis. But, in bringing all of these people and sectors together, it’s important to have an ecosystem of sorts – some kind of structure – to ensure the work is getting done and everyone is able to contribute their time and talents where they are most needed. Without some kind of system, just bringing people to the table may have diminishing returns. This is where an ecosystem is important.
Below is a video and the accompanying slides on "Creating a CCIM4C Ecosystem". Additionally, the Deloitte Center for Government Insights’ report entitled “Fighting the Opioid Crisis: An Ecosystem Approach to a Wicked Problem” is also included below.This report was the topic of one of the keynote presentations at Ohio’s 2018 Opiate Conference.
Resources and Materials:
Click the image below to view the "Creating a CCIM4C Ecosystem" video:
Click the image below to download "Fighting the Opioid Crisis: An Ecosystem Approach to a Wicked Problem (Deloitte):
For additional resources on Collective Impact, see below: