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Collective Impact: Could this change everything?

Collective Impact is not just a fancy name for collaboration, but represents a fundamentally different, more disciplined, and higher performing approach to achieving large-scale social impact. - John Kania & Mark Kramer

Over the last three years Collective Impact has grown from an emerging practice in the United States into a global movement. With the implementation of the Collective Impact framework, communities around the world are experiencing significant and measurable improvements with some of their biggest challenges, where previously – despite decades of funding and a great deal of program level activity – they were seeing very little change.

Introduced by John Kania and Mark Kramer in 2011,  the Collective Impact framework provides an approach to tackling complex issues – one that is innovative,  and structured to make collaboration work effectively across government, business, philanthropy, not-for-profits and community. Implementation of the Collective Impact framework has been shown to mobilise both the financial and human assets and resources within a community, and align them to achieve significant and lasting change. 

Inspired by the recent Collective Impact Conference in Melbourne, we invite you to join three of Australia's leading Collective Impact practitioners to share their experiences and insights applying the Collective Impact framework, and their thoughts on how it and better Collaborative Governance could transform the way Australian communities work together to solve our toughest issues.

Our special guests include:

Dawn O'Neil AM

Dawn has been leading effective change in the social and mental health sector for over 20 years. Previously the CEO of beyondblue and Lifeline, Dawn has been a member of numerous national federal government advisory committees and other boards, and in 2009 was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the community and to Mental Health.  

She is also the Chair of STREAT, an innovative homelessness social enterprise and a Director of the ten20 Foundation a newly formed venture philanthropy organisation supporting community based, collective impact initiatives and a Director of Big White Wall an innovative on line mental health and wellbeing service.  Her purpose is to increase the impact and effectiveness of the social sector.

Over the last two years Dawn has been working with Kerry Graham and the Centre for Social Impact to build a community of practice around the Collective Impact framework with their Collaboration for Impact initiative.

Connect with Dawn on Twitter at @dawnoneil

Max Hardy

Max Hardy, is a Director at consulting firm Twyfords, whose work is dedicated to helping clients build collaborative practice in response to complex issues. Since joining Twyfords in 1997 Max helped establish the International Association for Public Participation Australasia. With a particular interest in Deliberative Democracy and Appreciative Inquiry, he has developed innovative models for generating collaborative solutions covering a range of projects, including those with a health and social planning emphasis as well as infrastructure/natural resource management projects.

Along with his colleagues at Twyfords Max has written two books, “Beyond Public Meetings: Connecting Community Engagement with Decisionmaking” and most recently “The Power of Co: The Smart Leaders’ Guide to Collaborative Governance”. More recently Max has been heavily involved in building capacity in the health sector to collaboratively tackle challenges in the health system.

Connect with Max on Twitter at @maxchardy

Sharon Fraser

Sharon Fraser began her role at Central Goldfields Shire Council in November 2011. Sharon was appointed to oversee the State funded Go Goldfields (GG) project – a landmark community initiative that targets the needs of children, young people and families throughout the shire and tackles social disadvantage.

Go Goldfields is an innovative alliance of organisations, created to deliver locally relevant responses to social issues that are too complex and too long-term for previous solutions.

Supported by the Victorian Government in the amount of $2.5 million over three years, Go Goldfields have developed a series of shire wide, community-driven approaches to improve social, education and health outcomes for children, youth and families. The strategic, “place-based” approach, based on the Collective Impact framework, targets the whole community and gives the community ownership of the plan, so ensuring the plan’s sustainability.


Doors will open at 6:00pm for Networkweaving, drinks and snacks.

Presentation will start at 6:30pm sharp.

Event Partner

Thank you to event partner The Centre for Workplace Leadership at University of Melbourne for providing the venue.

The Centre for Workplace Leadership is dedicated to excellence in leadership research, improving the quality of leadership in Australian workplaces, and developing individual leaders. Our vision is to see Australian workplaces with world-class leadership, working collaboratively at all levels to create productive, innovative, and competitive outcomes. The Centre was established in 2013 as a joint initiative supported by the Federal Government and the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Business and Economics.


Why do we need Collective Impact?

For most Australians life is good. By a measure of average wealth, we’re among the wealthiest in the world. Our cities regularly top global lists for livability, and our nation has recently been named as one of the happiest places to live on the planet. But while most Australians enjoy a high standard of living by international standards, many are facing serious social and economic problems that are proving tough to resolve, and in many cases becoming worse.

•  New research shows the number of people struggling below the poverty line is steadily increasing and now sits at 11.8%. 

• Obesity rates in Australia have soared by more than 80 per cent since 1980, with about one quarter of children and more than 60 per cent of adults either overweight or obese.

• One third of indigenous Australians die by the age of 45, while their average life expectancy is more than a decade less than non-indigenous Australians.

• Every night over 100,000 people around the country are homeless, and two out of three people looking for crisis accommodation are being turned away. 

• Suicide is now the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44, with nearly half (45%) the population expected to experience a mental illness at some stage in their lives.

• The youth unemployment rate has hit a 12-year high of 13.1 per cent and overall workforce participation is continuing to decline as more baby boomers retire.

Once the domain of government or not-for-profits to solve, it has become clear that the complex nature of many of these issues means that no single program or organisation, however innovative, influential, well managed or well funded, can successfully address them singlehandedly. In fact, if we are to make the large-scale societal change required to tackle these big challenges, then we need to adopt collaborative, community-driven, data-based approaches and ensure  better cross-sector coordination, rather than rely on the usual isolated intervention of individual organisations.

The Collective Impact framework provides such an approach.

A great opportunity for communities tackling social issues: The Search

Interested in applying the Collective Impact framework to a complex social issue in your community? Check out The Search - the recently launched initiative from Collaboration for Impact offering $1 million in funding and support for an Australian community working to address one of society's biggest challenges.

Join or login to comment.

  • Tathra S.

    Loved it! Always interesting. Great to see familiar faces and new faces. Looking forward to the next one!

    1 · August 26, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great to know there are others out there working on complex social issues together :D

    1 · August 26, 2014

  • Maria S.

    Good night

    1 · August 26, 2014

  • Michael A.

    Did last night's meet up change anything for you? Please share especially for those of us who couldn't be there.

    2 · August 26, 2014

  • Maggie

    Thought provoking, exciting. I loved the presenters stories

    August 25, 2014

  • Maggie

    Thought provoking, exciting. I loved the presenters stories

    2 · August 25, 2014

  • Veki

    Empowering! Thank you to the speakers and organisers!

    August 25, 2014

  • Veki

    Empowering! Thank you to the speakers and organisers!

    2 · August 25, 2014

  • Antony M.

    Looking forward to this.

    2 · August 13, 2014

  • John B.

    Disappointed I can't be in Melbourne for it!
    Please do post back here any harvests or thoughts that emerge from the event, I'd look forward to reading them

    2 · August 13, 2014

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