FSG and the Stanford Social Innovation Review advocate for the formation of backbone organizations for collective impact. This is at the heart of developing a healthy city movement from our perspective at GoodCities. It can only be accomplished after sufficient work is done in the Exploration phase which develops both baseline measurements and deep relationships among key players in the private, public and social sectors of a city.

FSG notes that to achieve large-scale change through collective impact (rather than limited change through isolated impact) there must be five key conditions for shared success.

  1. A Common Agenda: All participants must have a shared vision for change including a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
  2. Shared Measurement: Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all participants ensures efforts remain aligned and participants hold each other accountable.
  3. Mutually Reinforcing Activities: Participant activities must be differentiated while still be ing coordinated  through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.
  4. Continuous Communication: Consistent and open communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and appreciate common motivation.
  5. Backbone Support: Creating and managing collective impact requires a separate organization(s) with staff and a specific set of skills to serve as the backbone for the entire initiative and coordinate participating organizations and agencies.

To learn more about what leaders from FSG have written on this in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, click here.