How to monitor and evaluate collective impact?

We did some work with the Public Health Agency of Canada on monitoring the key elements of vested partnerships or networks that affect system change. That is, how to monitor what the network can do that is greater than the sum of the individual partners? The work was based on a review and assessment of PHAC-Innovation strategy’s work in food systems and mental health initiatives. We found that live vested health partnerships and networks have:

  • diverse partners

  • a sectoral agenda

  • partner alignment

  • pooling of assets (financial and talent, extended networks)

A live network assumes strength in diversity ad governance of the partnership as well as demonstrating collaborative systems change. I tis important to monitor and measure not only the partners but the synergy and collective impact of the partnership. Outcome mapping can render pathways and assumptions explicit for partner deliberation around their common agenda.

Sophisticated partnerships and networks act like a murmuration of starlings, acting in concert to push learning, change practices and affect policy and societal norms. Capturing the movement of the flock is as important as counting the birds.