Traditionally we think of government and public policy formulation in linear terms. Ideas become laws through a structured process that is repeated over and over. Regulations are created using a repeatable formula with a defined structure. The bureaucracies that implement these laws and regulations are governed by chains of command, policy manuals, and structured decision making. Recently however, literature and notable thinkers have suggested that, in many cases, there could be better ways to address issues of the day. More organic ways that focus on working in an unstructured manner where cross-discipline work is key. One of these is “Collective Impact.” Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem (Stanford Social Innovation Review 2011). Rather than focusing on lines and hierarchy, this approach specifically collects diverse views, and then creates a common vision and aligned strategies. This approach has worked well in dealing with some of our most challenging social issues including juvenile criminal recidivism in New York, youth substance abuse in Massachusetts, and even international torture. Here in North Carolina we have the opportunity to use collective impact thinking to handle our most significant issues. Health care delivery is still not ideal, colleges are challenged by high dropout rates (nearly 40%), and as some of us learned at the Emerging Issues Forum this week, our innovation environment is only average. In the months ahead, the Center will be talking more about collective impact and its potential use in creating fact-based, collaborative public policy at the state and local level. Stay tuned to see the exciting places we are going!
For more information click here: Collective Insights on Collective Impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSRI)News