Collective Impact, Discipline and Reverse Engineering

by Byron McCauley on October 26, 2012

Erin Zimmerman, education initiative manager at the United Way of Larimer County, Colorado, eloquently defined “collective impact” in a column in the Business Section of Wednesday’s Fort Collins Gazette: “Collective impact begins with setting an overall community goal and working backward to achieve it,” she wrote.

This realistic approach mentioned by Zimmerman is a point often hammered by Strive Network Managing Director when he is talks to those interested in bringing broad coalitions in a community together to achieve agreed-upon goals.

In his Huffington Post column Thursday, Edmondson further clarified that discipline is the intangible that sets apart “collective impact” and “traditional collaboration.” In Strive’s case, it means employing “discipline to consistently use the growing body of education data to narrow our focus on what matters most and invest in what really works,” Edmondson wrote.


Of Note

Since last month’s third Strive convening, a number of publications have discussed the work or highlighted communities who are showing success. Here are a few below:

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Marquette Law School Fellow Alan Borsuk wrote: When and Where Milwaukee Succeeds, One Year Later

Michelle Nunn for Gannett Newspapers: We Are Optimists, No Matter What the Polls Say

Dan Smith, National Journal Education Experts Blog: Higher Education’s Role in the 21st Century

Bill Jackson, Founder and CEO of Great City Schools in Education Week: Strengthening Community Support and Demand for High-Quality Education

In the New York Times Letters section on October 11, in “How Best to Lift People Out of Poverty,” Elizabeth Lower-Basch, Policy Coordinator Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, praised the work of the Strive Partnership in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, saying the nation can learn from such initiatives.


Kudos to Edmondson

Finally,  the Strive Cradle to Career Network had another reason to celebrate this week. Edmondson was named one of 13 Ashoka Fellows, and recognized as an Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs in the United States. Ashoka’s mission says it strives to “shape a global, entrepreneurial, competitive citizen sector: one that allows social entrepreneurs to thrive and enables the world’s citizens to think and act as changemakers.”

Byron McCauley About Byron McCauley
Byron McCauley is the Senior Director of Public Relations for KnowledgeWorks Foundation.

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