Strategic learning: enhancing capacity 3 ways

For leaders working in complex and changing circumstances, the work can feel isolating and overwhelming. As a Collective of communities, researchers, funders, and service providers, we have a lot to offer one another as we strive towards our shared bold goal of improved outcomes for vulnerable children.

The core team at Opportunity Child aim to act as a conduit between members of the Collective and connect great practice, lessons learnt the hard way, and opportunity nationally. Our commitment to the leadership tables in our Collective is to create a range of forums and tools to support the work being done on the ground.

Since the OC Collective last came together at OC Connect, (June 2017) Opportunity Child has:

  1. formalised three new Communities of Practice
  2. initiated development of two new National Action Teams
  3. commenced mapping collaborative experiences to bring the Pathway to Scale (P2S)  to life.

Communities of Practice

These groups are a safe space for people to learn from one another, share resources and ideas, and identify linkages and opportunities for collaborative planning and action. They are a forum for sharing challenges and solving problems together, and importantly, act as a conduit for raising key issues nationally.

The first community of practice (CoP) comprised of a cross section of backbone leaders who are prioritising funding and policy advocacy.

The second is a communications and engagement CoP – a tribe of professionals from across the country who met recently at their first community of practice. These communications and engagement professionals are now dipping into a collaborative space to share deep learnings. I shared a short video about this over on the Opportunity Child Facebook page.

Strategic learning and evaluation specialists will form the third community of practice to come together. This is the first time specialist roles within backbone collaborations have connected across states in a coordinated effort to learn, share, and scale impact.

National Action Teams

Priority issues are being taken up by new National Action Teams under development  – comprised of talented people from across our Collective who will develop plans and coordinate action for the Collective as a whole. The people who have put their hands up to help work on policy advocacy strategy come from six states and territories and represent a diverse set of skills and experience.

Opportunity Child Pathway to scale

The Pathway to Scale

As a national intermediary, part of our role is to connect the dots across the Collective around all aspects of Opportunity Child’s work. The Pathway to Scale starts to hold all of that complexity in one place; how backbones:

  • plan
  • monitor
  • evaluate
  • learn
  • communicate towards improved outcomes for the #1in5

We are developing an interactive online platform to share real life examples from the field that illustrate ways to do collective impact work well. This will shine a light on what works and the circumstances and conditions that enabled it. Through a codesign process with Collective members, we will build this resource to tell the untold stories.

As we map the lessons across the P2S, we’ll be sharing stories like this one:

Our Collective’s aim is to enable intergenerational, population-level change for vulnerable children, families and communities. As a national intermediary for this broader Collective, the Opportunity Child core team is creating the opportunities to learn from each other and reflect on patterns as they emerge.

We are daring greatly together!

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About the author

Jess Compton is the Learning Manager in the Opportunity Child core team.

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