Several collaborative tables in the Surrey region recently explored Collective Impact in a workshop co-sponsored by the Community Action Initiative. Four groups, which involved diverse stakeholders from Fraser Health, the City of Surrey and other community organizations explored how to have greater impact on a number of topics ranging from food security to social connectedness. This workshop was delivered in partnership by Innoweave and BC Healthy Communities (BCHC) on behalf of the PlanH Program.
Enthusiastic groups engaged in the process to learn about CI and how to apply this approach to important community issues. Collective impact challenges collaborative groups to focus and articulate what the impact is they are trying to achieve and commit to working together to measure their progress. It can be challenging to arrive at a measurable population level impact when diverse partners are around the table to address some of the root causes of the issues at hand.
“Our Collective Impact event provided an unique opportunity for stakeholders from different perspectives to come together and re-focus, find that common outlook, and take well-defined steps in the same direction to better represent the vision this group intended,” said Randy Heilbron, in the Healthy Built Environment Program at Fraser Health.
Amongst the topics explored were; food security, social connectedness, mental health and well-being, and youth engagement, and active transportation. The facilitators focused on introducing the groups to the concept of the “Theory of Change,” part of a process of building a common agenda across diverse stakeholders.
“It is a complex process and doesn’t move in a straight line,” explained Erica Crawford, BCHC facilitator. “Groups grappled with challenging paradoxes and to find common ground amidst sometimes contradictory interests.”
The groups will continue to work on developing their common agenda and engagement strategies in preparation for the next session. This process supports these groups to lay the building blocks for potential long-term collective impact initiatives in Surrey.
Find out more about Collective Impact here.