About a year ago, we traveled with a small group from Oklahoma City to Indianapolis to explore the potential of collective impact. “This work moves at the speed of trust,” we were told and “data should be used as a flashlight, not a hammer.” There, at a convening of communities from all over the country, we witnessed a great interest in collective impact. Each community had its own flavor, its own obstacles and its own strengths.
We wondered if the Oklahoma City metro might benefit from work in which a varied set of stakeholders move in a common direction and with common measures of progress. We knew if it was going to work back home it would have to be tailored to and driven by our own community.
As a first step, we began to gauge interest. Many people were excited by the prospect of working together as a region, and some were not. Other people were concerned about “false starts” and timing. But, in nearly every meeting, what attracted people most was the possibility of working together in a new way with a new focus: “bright spots.”
We wondered what would happen if we flipped the focus, if we centered our efforts on stories and practices that already work. What if we studied local successes and worked to share them with the region? What would happen?