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Organizing for system change
Aligned action is a problem-solving approach to address “wicked problems”—complex challenges that have multiple root causes, are emergent and shifting, defy single point solutions, and require a portfolio of interventions to affect change. We help identify the highest impact leverage points to drive systemic change and design the most effective network structure to catalyze collective impact—supporting a group in achieving what no one entity could effectively do on its own.
What we offer
We help frame, design, and orchestrate coordinated action that can accelerate impact. Particular areas of focus include:
- Human dynamics: Engaging the stakeholders needed to build solutions and make them stick. We believe that change happens through relationships that are based on trust. We have literally written the book on designing and facilitating strategic conversations to help galvanize diverse stakeholders and mobilize them behind a shared intent and coordinated plan for action, GATHER: The art and science of effective convening.
- Collective strategy: Getting smart about the problem and arriving at a point of view and action agenda for the network. There is no single solution to any of the wicked problems we face. We help design strategies that support a portfolio of coordinated interventions.
- Network configuration: Designing a network to support impact. We know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to network development. Networks are dynamic and the supports they need change over time. We understand the activities and roles typically involved in moving a group through the six stages of network development—and have outlined this process in the online resource, ENGAGE: How funders can support and leverage networks for social impact.
Issue to impact: Reimagine Learning
Despite considerable focus on education reform over the past 25 years, U.S. schools remain ill-equipped to meet the needs and support the success of students who experience learning and attention issues due to brain-based learning disabilities or the trauma associated with poverty. To tackle such an intractable problem, New Profit knew they had to galvanize some unusual suspects—leaders in learning differences, social emotional learning, and neuroscience—to align their action in service of a new kind of education reform based on a deep understanding of how students learn. With this charge, and a $30M 5-year commitment from four co-funders, the Reimagine Learning Network was born.
Over three years, Monitor Institute by Deloitte and New Profit continuously engaged participants, ranging from funders, to social entrepreneurs, policy makers, researchers, and members of the creative community, to create the strategy and structure for the network and to build the human system to support it. We created a narrative of change to unite this diverse group, identified the critical levers to pull (practice, policy, and culture), and created working groups to help advance initiatives related to each lever. This support enabled the network to achieve the following (select accomplishments): invest in six core social entrepreneurs, award five additional $50-100K grants through their Incubation Fund, lay the foundation to facilitate collaboration between Reimagine Learning partners in a specific geography, develop a policy platform for the network’s advocacy strategy and cultivate a bi-partisan alliance, and conduct a public launch for Reimagine Learning at Fashion Week, generating 604 million impressions for this work world-wide.
- PARTICIPATE: The power of involving business in social impact networks
- ENGAGE: How funders can support and leverage networks for social impact
- GATHER: The art and science of effective convening
- Value exchange tool
- Catalyzing networks for social change
- Working wikily
- Four questions to ask before you engage with a network
- The calculus for commitment: The power of engaging the private sector in social impact networks
- Relationship advice for cross-sector collaborators
- The value exchange tool: building business-nonprofit partnerships that last
- Wicked problems are being recast as wicked opportunities
- The chronical of philanthropy: 3 steps to collaboration