Utilising Collective Impact for Social Change

As a grass-roots driven, but institutionally championed organization, WiSPP implements a collective impact strategy by bringing together Australia’s leading medical research institutes in Parkville Precinct to work towards the same shared goal.   

Researchers and professional staff work together to identify barriers to the retention and advancement of women in their precinct, and then tailor solutions to the specific needs of each organisation.   

About Collective Impact

WiSPP engages the principals of collective impact practice to build a framework for instigating change. John Kania and Mark Kramer first wrote about collective impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011.     

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Five key elements were identified:

  • agreement on a common agenda

  • development of a shared measurement approach

  • leveraging resources through mutually reinforcing activities

  • building continuous communications

  • incorporate a backbone structure to mobilize the collective effort

Adapting the collective impact strategy for WiSPP

Why aren’t you doing more?’ was a challenge thrown at all of us attending a meeting about gender equity. It made me think about what could be done beyond my personal efforts and Institute efforts for change in this complex space. By chance, I’d been introduced to the concept of Collective Impact from Stanford in a different context, and the light bulb went on. The Collective Impact Framework helps tackle deeply entrenched and complex social problems. It seemed perfect for the problems facing women in medical research. With seed backing from The Trust Company, WiSPP was born.”

-Professor Julie Bernhardt, founding member of WiSPP

In June 2014, WiSPP worked with internationally respected change consultants REOS Partners, to identify a common goal, framed in our collective vision:

to advance research and translations by providing an environment that allows more women in science to lead and excel.

Our initiative aims to develop an effective model of collective action to tackle the barriers facing women in science. We work to establish the framework of designing and implementing organisational change programs and develop the tools to measure progress.

Through changing organisational culture we can achieve our vision to provide an environment for women to both continue to participate and to excel in medical research.