Burnie was the community selected by judges of The Search in 2015 as the most promising early stage collective impact initiative in Australia. Burnie Works is the community-wide collaboration applying the collective impact framework to address low school retention and high youth unemployment.

Here’s the unfolding story of Burnie.

A Collective Impact Learning Lab

Burnie is the North West Tasmanian community of 20,000 applying the collective impact framework to make their collaboration work across government, business, philanthropy, non-profit organisations and citizens to achieve significant and lasting social change. The initiative demonstrates that collective impact requires getting comfortable with emergence – developing strategy through doing and learning. This place-based initiative has discovered that participationg and doing in collaboration is what brings alignment with the goal.

First published on SVA Quarterly, this article demonstrates the generous learning spirit of those in Burnie, and allows us to critically review how Burnie Works has interpreted and applied the collective impact framework and examine what is working well and what could work better.

Making Burnie – A Tasmanian Story of Collective Impact

What does it take for a community to change the trajectory of its young people?

This question, as asked by Kerry Graham in a blog written December 2015, was posed to a group of progressive funders who visited the North West Tasmanian community at that time. What they saw was a community aligned around a common agenda for children and young people.  They saw a shared language of collective impact and a highly visible practice of collaboration that intentionally builds trust and shares data, resources and leadership.  They saw in action what the literature of ‘systems change’ and ‘emergence’ talks about – learning by doing, adaptation, experimentation and data-based decision making.

Importantly, they also saw what it takes to create the conditions for this type of large-scale change.

Signs of Life: Collaborating for Social Impact

Dr Andrew Young, CEO of The Centre for Social Impact shares some thoughts on collaborative approaches.