Today, there is no one superhero leader, institution or sector that can singlehandedly solve our seemingly intractable social and economic problems. And, traditional collaboration won’t be sufficient either. This consensus has led to the emergence of a movement where cross-sector leaders come together to think strategically about how their differentiated, but coordinated activities can achieve significantly better results. It’s called collective impact for systems change: long term efforts by diverse partners to align towards a large-scale [solution] driven by data and shared accountability. This movement holds great promise for propelling us into the next generation of problem-solving, but getting there requires significant discipline and rigor.
Collective impact, as a form of dynamic collaboration, has been transforming systems in cities across the country. Urban leaders are putting aside self-interests and collaborating over the long term to build new, civic, problem-solving infrastructure. They are working to re-engineer interconnected, but broken systems to ensure that people are prepared for 21st century employment, that places can connect them to opportunity, and that opportunities to grow income and reduce income inequality exist.