Social and environmental challenges don’t exist in silos, but in complex systems. The solutions need to recognize that and be holistic. Failing established systems need to radically change and power relations need to be shifted. But no one can do this on their own, and too many organizations are working in isolation from one another. At H&M Foundation we move away from being a traditional donor and become a facilitator catalysing change and creating a platform for collaboration and partnerships. We work to take on a holistic approach to all our social initiatives, which are based on the Collective Impact method (CI).
All actors partnering up in a Collective Impact project must agree to:
- Define a common agenda – collectively define the problem and create a shared vision to solve it.
- Establish shared measurement – track progress in the same way allowing for continuous improvement.
- Foster mutually reinforcing activities – coordinating collective efforts to maximize the end result.
- Encourage continuous communication – to ensure everyone in the network stays informed.
- Have a strong backbone – a team dedicated to orchestrating the work of the group.
The CI method is a highly structured collaborative model where a diverse group of actors come together in partnerships to solve complex social challenges. It can be defined as a highly structured network of community members, organizations, and institutions that advance equity by learning together, aligning, and integrating their actions to achieve population and systems-level change.
Since 2020, the Collective Impact method – with priority placed on equity – is being piloted in two programs in India and Bangladesh. With this method the H&M Foundation use an eco-system thinking and design process to reshape how development work is done. This is a much-needed step towards being a facilitator – a catalyst that disrupts the global development sector and creates a platform for true collaboration and co-creation to take place between local expert organizations. Our role is to empower them to create local solutions while still being an engaged partner.
As a donor, we can move the needle and enable holistic systems change – if we ask for it. We must have the patience to stay with an initiative for years, accepting that social change can come from the gradual improvement of an entire system over time. We must dare to invest in complex projects and take on a more long-term perspective, be unconventional and innovative.
Also within our planet focus we facilitate co-creation with actors across conventional boundaries to validate and share solutions with the potential to scale. We always create agile ecosystems of individuals, organizations, businesses, and academia sharing a mutual goal when carrying out our work.