As 2011 comes to a close, we here at IISC can look back on a year full of multi-stakeholder change work. I think I can speak on behalf of the entire team when I say that it has been our pleasure to contribute our process design, facilitation, and collaborative capacity building skills to a range of differently scaled social change efforts, linking arms with convenors and catalysts in a variety of fields. These have included (to name a few):
- A global network focused on growing social justice philanthropy
- National initiatives focused on improving child dental health and boosting Black Male Achievement
- State-wide collaborative efforts in Connecticut and Rhode Island focused respectively on creating a more equitable system for early childhood development and community food security
- More localized community development efforts in Boston’s Dudley Street Neighborhood (Boston Promise) and in Springfield, Massachusetts
- A variety of social change leadership development networks at national, state, and local levels
I personally am proud and humbled to be a part of this ambitious and important work, and have reaped many lessons, hints of which have found their way into posts on this blog during the past 361 days. As a team, we at IISC have also managed to parlay some of our learnings into new and robust training courses that focus on collaborative process design and facilitation skills - Pathway to Change and Fundamentals of Facilitation for Racial Justice Work. And we have contributed to a joint publication with Grantmakers for Effective Organizations entitled Do Nothing About Me Without Me: An Action Guide for Engaging Stakeholders.
I have also been delighted to see the conversation around multi-stakeholder collaboration continue to grow to a more nuanced crescendo this year with important contributions from other colleagues in the field: FSG’s “Collective Impact” article; the Monitor Institute’s robust writings on networks, including Connected Citizens: The Power, Potential and Peril of Networks, Transformer: How to Build a Network to Change a System, and Catalyzing Networks for Social Change: A Funder’s Guide (co-published with GEO). Surely I am forgetting others (please feel free to add them in the comment section). And then, of course, there is the #Occupy Movement, which has taken the art of collaboration and networks to a whole new fascinating and important level! So much to be grateful for this past year, and so much yet to be explored and realized.
Below are some quotes from 2011, that surely forecast continued growth and evolution of collaborative multi-stakeholder work in the year to come (again, please feel free to add others from the past 12 months below). Enjoy!
“We need not only do things better than we have in the past; we need to link them in smarter and more effective ways.”- David Bornstein (“The Power of Partnerships”)
“Harnessing the power of networks and enabling individual to individual connections can result in impact at a scale and speed unthinkable in recent years.” - Diana Scearce, Monitor Institute (Connected Citizens)
“After [the RE-AMP Network launched], it was absolutely crystal clear no one could win unless we all win.” - Rick Reed (transcript of interview follow-up to Transformer)
“The first step is to identify a few credible leaders who can serve as convenors and who genuinely understand that every community needs a common table.” - Nancy Zimpher, State University of New York (“Collective Impact”)
“My simple premise is that the mission of the 21st century is to build up the positive and reduce the negative forces of interdependence.” – Bill Clinton (quoted in Connected Citizens)
“We need ‘targeted universalism;’ getting everyone on board with universal goals, but not universal strategies for getting there.” - john a. powell, Kirwan Institute (“Systems Thinking and Social Justice”)
“A systems approach that doesn’t bring us into deeper relationship with each other and the entire web of life is not an approach I want any part of.” - Eric Stiens, Kirwan Institute (follow up blog on Systems Thinking Webinar)
“Systemic change ultimately depends on a sustained campaign to increase the capacity and coordination of an entire field.” - John Kania and Mark Kramer, FSG (“Collective Impact”)
“We are the 99%.” - #Occupy