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Our Impact

C4CW strives to help our partners improve and sustain their positive impact in the world, and their ongoing  experience of joy, generosity, and wellbeing. For us, these two foci are inextricably intertwined: large-scale change efforts can better sustain and improve their impact in the world when they consciously tend to the wellbeing of participants and partners as an ongoing, integral part of their work.

We regularly assess and reflect on C4CW's impact using a variety of measures, including data gathered from online surveys, pre- and post-assessments, and individual and small group interviews. What follows are examples of data speaking to the impact of some of our immersions and early academies, and descriptions of a few of the many change efforts we have designed and supported.

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The entire training was transformative - especially the idea of adaptation within living systems, and the idea that complexity is natural and not something to be resisted or solved ‘perfectly.’ Also that adaptation happens in real-time and the fluidity of our responses to issues … all groundbreaking realizations for me. And this is the perspective that we need over the long haul as we build our movement.

Academy participant

Sample Change Initiatives

Community impact effort: We helped design and support a ten-year, ten-sector community impact effort—called Focus on Prevention—to support and strengthen families, beginning with a movement to reduce and prevent homelessness. Our roles included working with county leaders to design the overall initiative; providing data support to initiative leaders; designing and facilitating multiple Wisdom Dialogues; and designing and facilitating county-wide and community-level engagement summits.

County-wide Cradle to Career effort: Focus on Prevention helped inspire the emergence of a Cradle to Career movement in the same county, committed to six long-term results:

  • All students enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

  • All students read at grade level by the end of third grade. 

  • All students of all ages demonstrate success and joy in math. 

  • All students graduate high school postsecondary ready.

  • Postsecondary students successfully complete their certificate or degree.

  • All job seekers are ready to enter self-sustaining employment.

We supported the initial design of this effort, and implemented an early academy for Living Collective Wisdom. A first year assessment of this ambitious undertaking  can be found here

Behavioral Health System transformation effort: We designed and facilitated a comprehensive transformation effort for a multi-city behavioral health system that had recently suffered bankruptcy. At the heart of this process was an ongoing series of community dialogues and decision-making processes among myriad stakeholders to rebuild trust and develop shared agreement about a new vision of a community-driven system focused on priority results.

Transition-Aged Youth program redesign effort: We worked with staff from a program that supports transition-aged youth who are homeless. After conducting an orientation in the Leadership for Collective Wisdom framework for program staff, we designed and facilitated a year-long process to help them redesign the program. Through this process, staff developed new data systems to track progress with each program participant, and new processes to better engage youth in developing and implementing their own long-term recovery plans. This process was part of a larger systems transformation initiative.

Assessments from Early Academies

In a three-year initiative with a cohort of behavioral health organizations, participants reported an increase in their organization’s capacity to have a positive impact on the people they serve, reflect on the impact of their work using data, and adapt to challenges. They also reported an increased capacity to better adapt to current policy and fiscal changes affecting the larger system; to nurture a stronger and more positive internal environment; and to more effectively collaborate among each other and with the system’s funder. Cultivating Cultures of Collective Wisdom: Assessing the Impact and Lessons Learned from the Wisdom Transformation Initiative. Manhattan Beach, CA: Center for Collective Wisdom, 2016.

In a two-year initiative with 11 non-profit organizations, participants surveyed by an evaluation firm reported that their engagement with C4CW increased their organizations’ capacity to realize their mission and goals and nurture a healthier working environment for staff. In particular, participants reported statistically significant increases in: (1) their organizations’ capacity to effectively address adaptive dilemmas; (2) their understanding of foundational concepts of Leadership for Collective Wisdom; (3) their capacity to embody a majority of the self leadership commitments and all of the collective leadership commitments; and (4) their experience of generosity towards others and oneself. The Angell Foundation’s Organizational Spirituality Initiative: Telling the Story, Final Report. Watsonville, CA: Applied Survey Research, 2015.

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