Collective Impact & Education Reform

Since 2017, I have been a member of a research team that launched a nationwide study to identify the conditions that make collective impact useful for education reform.

Collective Impact is a framework proposed by Kania and Kramer in 2011. It advocates the formation of cross-sector collaboration to achieve large-scale social change. Specifically, the framework of collective impact lays out five pillars for such collaboration. Our team out of Northwestern University takes on a comparative approach to investigate if collective impact indeed leads to more effectiveness. Several papers are currently under review. 

Today I would like to share a recent publication I lead, which appeared in the 2020 Winter Issue of Stanford Social Innovation Review, the same journal where the original article of Collective Impact was published.

This paper proposes a new framework called Community System Solutions, which describes how collaborative coalitions may differ along two dimensions: who participates & how work gets done. This framework moves beyond the current heavy reliance on the language of collective impact and offers an alternative, more precise language for collaborative coalitions to describe the varieties of ways in which they can organize their partners and implement programs for social impact. Four models are explained in the Community System Solutions framework: Community-led coalition, low-overhead coalition, multi-stakeholder coalition, and holistic coalition.

We are currently developing an academic paper with interview data and content coding to showcase how these models may differ in their network outcomes. An earlier version of this paper was presented at ARNOVA 2018 in Austin, TX.

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