We need to change this...

Submitted by Liz Weaver on July 12, 2016 - 1:59am

Collaboration seems to be the key word these days.   Driven in some cases by funders or in other cases by the realization that more can be accomplished together than alone, we all seem to be engaged in more and more collaborative planning processes.  But are we getting value for money?

Too often, the collaborative partners dive into the work rather than spend time on the process.  They think they are focused on outcomes but this quick move to action can leave in its wake many casualities and potential actions not taken. 

With our Vibrant Communities partners, we have be advocating that they spend time developing a Theory of Change for their work.  The Theory of Change process asks some really important questions and helps collaboratives think through who they are in the context of the community and determine the capacity that they have to change systems.  A Theory of Change helps determine a shared aspiration, more than a vision statement, the aspiration becomes something that the collaborative and the community can reach toward. 

The Theory of Change approach also begins to define the role of the collaborative relative to the aspriation and identifies measures for success.  A final function of a Theory of Change approach is regularly returning to the theory.  As the collaborative begins to have impact, there is a recognition that systems are changing which prompts the collaborative to reflect on their theory on a regular basis. 

Interested in this approach?  Below is an overview of the Theory of Change approach - but contact me at Tamarack and I can share with you some examples of the Theory of Change in action. 

Theory of Change Approach- overview