Essential Conditions for Place-Based Partnerships (Newsletter)

February 13, 2019 0 By mbiggar

I spend much of my time developing, researching and reading about place-based partnerships for social change. These partnerships are an opportunity to respect, honor and leverage all that makes a place special and to make it better. The place can be a community, city, county, region, state or one with natural boundaries such as a watershed. I believe our most enduring, positive social change can occur through a place-based approach that brings many stakeholders together around a common goal.

I’ve come across great wisdom and insights from practitioners, researchers and fellow consultants in all these endeavors. There are many models, with both theoretical and practical elements, that offer useful guidance on how to effectively bring organizations together to achieve significant, long-lasting social impact (e.g. Collective Impact or Network Leadership Principles). Synthesizing these models with my experience and research, I have created the following Essential Conditions for Place-Based Partnerships (The list fell into an ‘ABC’ acronym pattern, so I went with it and stretched it to ABCDE-MN!)

Frequently assess and improve alignment across stakeholders within partnership and between partnership and other initiatives

Backbone Support 
Provide sufficient staff capacity and time to regularly guide, coordinate and monitor the partnership

Community Leadership 
Involve community members and those closest to the challenges in the core leadership and decision-making; ground the overall effort in lived experience

Design of Partnership 
Develop and adapt structure for governance, participant roles, sharing among stakeholders and aligned action

Evaluation & Measurement 
Determine relevant, shared metrics and evaluate progress and population-level impact based on them

Meeting Facilitation 
Collaboratively plan meetings and use a variety of techniques in meetings to engage, challenge and inspire participants and be productive

Network Mindset 
Shift from organization-centered, top-down approach to a systems approach with the collaborative mission at the center, allowing for solutions to emerge and grow

** An Integrated Network of Support through county, regional and state actors helps partnerships grow to their full potential and scale across geographic areas.**

With effort and skill invested in these essential conditions, the likelihood of success and long-lasting, transformative impact increases. Each of the seven conditions and the underlying ‘integrated network or support’ requires careful execution and adaptation to the local context.

In future newsletters, I will talk more about each of these conditions. In the meantime, I appreciate your comments, critique, suggestions and questions.

ChangeScale Listening Sessions Tour

ChangeScale is a collaborative of organizations in the San Francisco and Monterey Bay Areas working together to ensure that environmental education is a cornerstone of lifelong learning.

ChangeScale will be hosting listening sessions with stakeholders across the region to gather important input that will help guide ChangeScale’s work for years to come.

If interested, you can register here for one of the listening sessions:

March 6, 2019, 4pm – 6pm, YMCA Point Bonita (North Bay)

March 13, 2019, 4pm – 6pm, Shoreline Center, MLK Shoreline, EBRPD (East Bay)

March 20, 2019, 4pm – 6pm, Children’s Discovery Museum (South Bay)

March 28, 2019, 4:30pm – 6:30pm, Crissy Field Center (San Francisco)

April 3, 2019, 2:30pm – 4:30pm, Ecology Action (Santa Cruz & Monterey Bay)

I worked with ChangeScale to design these listening sessions, other input strategies and their overall planning process.

Other Upcoming Events (supported by Connected to Place)

Campus and Community as a Learning Laboratory Workshop #2, San Mateo County Office of Education, February 27th

Save Lives. Unite Oklahoma. Steering Committee Meeting, Virtual Meeting, March