Through our initiative we aim to develop an effective model of collective impact in tackling the problems facing women in science.
Collective impact is the commitment of multiple groups or entities from different sectors, to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem. The collective impact approach sees that large-scale social change can come from better cross-sector coordination rather than from individual organizations working in isolation.
The collective impact approach is particularly suited to addressing a complex social problem such as entrenched gender inequity which has multiple layers of stakeholders, all with different perspective and often disagreement about the underlying causes of the problem and the best solutions.
John Kania & Mark Kramer first wrote about collective impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011 and identified five key elements:
Common Agenda: All participants share a vision for change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed-upon actions.
Shared Measurement: All participating organizations agree on the ways success will be measured and reported, with a short list of common indicators identified and used for learning and improvement.
Mutually Reinforcing Activities: A diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinate a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
Continuous Communication: All players engage in frequent and structured open communication to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
Backbone Support: An independent, funded staff dedicated to the initiative provides ongoing support by guiding the initiative’s vision and strategy, supporting aligned activities, establishing shared measurement practices, building public will, advancing policy, and mobilizing resources.