Shredding the Evidence: Whose Collective Impact are We Talking About?

Edited book (chapter)


Woolcock, Geoffrey. 2019. "Shredding the Evidence: Whose Collective Impact are We Talking About?" Kee, Youngwha, Lee, Seung Jong and Phillips, Rhonda (ed.) Perspectives on Community Well-Being. Switzerland. Springer. pp. 157-173
Chapter Title

Shredding the Evidence: Whose Collective Impact are We Talking About?

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID3337
Book TitlePerspectives on Community Well-Being
Authors
AuthorWoolcock, Geoffrey
EditorsKee, Youngwha, Lee, Seung Jong and Phillips, Rhonda
Page Range157-173
SeriesCommunity Quality-of-Life and Well-Being
Chapter Number8
Number of Pages17
Year2019
PublisherSpringer
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
ISBN9783030151140
9783030151157
ISSN2520-1093
2520-1107
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15115-7_8
Web Address (URL)https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-15115-7_8
Abstract

There has been considerable hype in Australia recently accompanying the North American-informed Collective Impact (CI) approach and its claims to deliver real transformative social change for individuals and communities. CI actively promotes its principal incentive and distinctive trait, namely to concentrate the energies of its collaborators to achieve real,long-term,measurable and sustainable outcomes, often quoted as a Social Return on Investment(SRoI).Not coincidentally,the rise of CI’s visibility has emerged alongside diminishing public funding for social change initiatives, with a corresponding and somewhat belated turn to the philanthropic sector to partially meet this funding shortfall. Early signs across Australia indicate that philanthropic funds are no less driven by a ‘value for money’ imperative than governments that in turn, has left many lamenting the shift in community organisations working to satisfy donor expectations rather than working with and for local communities. In this context,some serious questions have already been raised about the Collective Impact approach and ambition, particularly how CI can meaningfully engage with long-term disadvantaged local communities and realistically agree on what successful outcomes would look like for such communities. Community cultural development (CCD) would seem to offer a useful counterpoint to the CI approach with its enduring emphasis on authentic process and bottom-up solutions but CCD too has received its own share of criticism for an obsession with process to the exclusion of real and tangible social outcomes. Whatever approach’s claims are to be tested, this paper starts from the standpoint that their veracity will only be significant if they can actually demonstrate they are making a difference in our most disadvantaged communities and populations.

KeywordsCollective impact; Measuring well-being; Community cultural development; Community indicators
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020441001. Applied sociology, program evaluation and social impact assessment
450507. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-based research
369999. Other creative arts and writing not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsInstitute for Resilient Regions
Journal TitlePerspectives on Community Well-Being
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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