Saturday, March 17, 2012

What About?

"While collaborative efforts have a long history, the work remains immensely challenging--with a record of many more failures than successes. Today, a new generation of multi-sector community collaboratives across the United States is seeking to learn from previous efforts, build upon what works and use collaboration as a fulcrum for generating community-wide change."

Michele Jolin, Paul Schmitz, and Willa Seldon, Needle-Moving Community Collaboratives: A Promising Approach to Addressing America's Biggest Challenges.
I was glad to read that there have been community collaborative failures -- but there was no discussion in the document about what has been learned from these failed attempts. A mistake, I believe. The authors might have included a handful of failure case studies just to keep it real. Their list of promising efforts also raises the question about standards of evidence -- and the inevitable rush to best practices from too much early celebration. I'm struck also that community organizing campaigns are left off the big list and historical timeline -- not really surprising given the social-policy talk about "collaboratives" and all that. Arguably, the community reinvestment movement of the last forty years has been one of the largest and most successful campaigns. And then came the foreclosure crisis.

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