The Center’s Innovation Network approach is part of a larger community of practice referred to variously as Collective Impact, Social Labs and other social change methodologies. 

Our Innovation Networks are distinguished by our highly-effective stakeholder selection methodology, our integration of human-centered design practices to produce solutions that work for real people in the real world, and our ability to swiftly move toward systemic solutions.

Collective Impact

Collective Impact is the commitment of a group of actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem, using a structured form of collaboration.  Initiatives must meet five criteria in order to be considered collective impact: 

Common Agenda

All participating organizations (government agencies, non-profits, community members, etc.) have a shared vision for social change that includes a common understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving the problem through agreed upon actions.

Shared Measurement System

Agreement on the ways success will be measured and reported with a short list of key indicators across all participating organizations.

Mutually Reinforcing Activities

Engagement of a diverse set of stakeholders, typically across sectors, coordinating a set of differentiated activities through a mutually reinforcing plan of action.

Continuous Communication

Frequent communications over a long period of time among key players within and across organizations, to build trust and inform ongoing learning and adaptation of strategy.

Backbone Organization

Ongoing support provided by an independent staff dedicated to the initiative. The backbone staff tends to play six roles to move the initiative forward: Guide Vision and Strategy; Support Aligned Activity; Establish Shared Measurement Practices; Build Public Will; Advance Policy; and Mobilize Funding.