A common agenda is one of five elements of Collective impact. Our working definition of a common agenda draws inspiration from Paul Born’s article “How to Develop a Common Agenda for a Collective impact.” A common agenda is the result of a creative process of helping everyone to get onto the same page about what it is we are going to do together that no one organization can do alone, and then documenting our common commitment.
It has 3 main components:
- Statements of shared purpose, key goals, and strategies that form a common understanding of what everyone has agreed to. We call this the Strategic Direction.
- A narrative that captures the outcomes of our broad-ranging research and journey of shared learning, and the rationale for the goals we have chosen to work on together.
- A road map for how we have agreed to work together, including a budget and governance model for our work.
The common agenda serves the function of a strategic plan, but the process and planning tools are oriented toward transformational change of complex adaptive systems. The building of a common agenda is primarily about engagement: a bringing-together of those who care about and are impacted by the issues; it is a way to highlight and remind ourselves that the Alliance is a network focused on an emergent process, one based on listening and equity, exploration and curiosity, and on a collective commitment to change in Alaska.
The Common Agenda document we have now is still in formation. It was started at the 2-day in-person planning meeting of the Alliance in December 2019 and developed through the second retreat in May 2020. In the fall of 2020 through spring 2021, we will be developing it further.