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Collaboration for Impact Conference


Thursday, 25th June 2015 at 11:18 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist
Australia’s leading experts on collaboration for impact have teamed up for a two day conference designed to help bring collaborative approaches to life - at work and in the community - this July in Sydney.

Thursday, 25th June 2015
at 11:18 am
Xavier Smerdon, Journalist


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Collaboration for Impact Conference
Thursday, 25th June 2015 at 11:18 am

Australia’s leading experts on collaboration for impact have teamed up for a two day conference designed to help bring collaborative approaches to life – at work and in the community – this July in Sydney.

Three organisations, www.collaborationforimpact.com, the Centre for Social Impact and Social Leadership Australia have teamed up to offer the two day conference on 16-17 July 2015 at UNSW called Collaboration for Impact.

In recognition of the immense practice wisdom being developed in communities across Australia, a significant feature of the conference is communities learning from each other according to the Convenor of Collaboration for Impact, Kerry Graham.

Specific skill development sessions are offered on backbone facilitation, storytelling, shared measurement, and working with your power. In addition there will be a perspective changing session on what collaboration, looks, feel and tastes like for Indigenous communities, Governments, philanthropists and corporates.

“Collaboration is not a new thing in the Australian social impact system. There is a long history and many examples of communities, agencies, and sectors working together to create impact they could never achieve alone. However, in the last few decades, collaboration became harder to do. It was not incentivised or rewarded by Governments procuring services from Not for Profit organisations; nor by our increasing preference for linear, short-term solutions,” Graham said.

“As a result, we lost some of our skills and confidence to work in this way. To quote Douglas Reeves, Founder The Leadership and Learning Centre UK, “collaboration, it turns out, is not a gift from the gods but a skill that requires effort and practice”.

“Thankfully, collaboration is enjoying a renaissance in the Australian social system. The context began to change a few years back with: an increased understanding of the nature of complex social problems (the intractable ones that are non-responsive to program or project based interventions); Governments procuring social outcomes from Not for Profit organisations through consortiums; and a desire from communities to take a seat at the decision making table.

“Into this changing context came the ‘accelerant’ – the publication of a framework called Collective Impact in the 2011 Winter edition of the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Collective Impact reaffirmed collaboration as the most appropriate response to complex social problems and elevated collaboration to a more strategic and disciplined way of achieving large-scale social impact,” she said.

“Communities, Not for Profits, Governments, intermediaries and philanthropists readily engaged with the Collective Impact framework – assessing it, pulling it apart, debating it, and starting to test it as a useful frame for catalysing or re-vitalising collaborative action to tackle some of the toughest problems we face as a country – problems like childhood vulnerability, youth unemployment, Indigenous advancement, homelessness and poverty.

“We now see about 60 collaborations across Australia – in differing stages development – who are informed by the collective impact framework. Five State Governments are engaged in pilots or demonstration sites, and new philanthropic organisations are emerging and aligning to support this way of working. It is an exciting time.

“But, we would be wise to heed the words of Douglas Reeves.

“We must see collaboration as a skill that requires effort and practice; we must strengthen our collaborative mindsets and muscles if we are do to the collective heavy lifting required to create large-scale impact in the complex social problems we grapple with,” Graham said.

Learn more about the conference here or contact: The Centre for Social Impact, Engagement and Events via email: csievents@unsw.edu.au or call (02) 8936 0904.


Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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