John Kania and Mark Kramer defined collective impact as “cross-sector coordination to achieve large-scale social change” in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011. In the first of a series of articles on the model, they write that successful collective impact initiatives share five critical elements:
- a common agenda
- mutually reinforcing activities
- shared measurement systems
- continuous communication
- backbone support organizations.
Although evidence of the effectiveness of collective impact is still emerging, successful examples suggest that the model can solve serious, complex social problems by bringing together nonprofits, government, business, and individuals around a common agenda.
The makeup of the Women of Impact group was designed to promote cross-sector coordination, and represent the public and private sectors from a variety of perspectives, including providers, patients, payers, and philanthropists. The group’s common agenda, the broken windows around disempowerment, service promotion, and expendability, was prefaced by agreeing on a case for change and motivated by the articulated individual legacy of each woman.