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Logan social change efforts lead English-speaking world: expert

When an internationally renowned thought leader says Logan’s efforts for social change are the best he’s seen in the English-speaking world – it’s time to sit up and take notice.

Canadian Collective Impact evaluation expert, the Tamarack Institute’s Mark Cabaj is currently finishing up a whirlwind tour of Australia, which included a day in Brisbane last Friday, meeting with and presenting to various groups from the Logan Together movement.

Logan Together is a 10-year movement to grow Logan’s kids up well, and uses a collective impact approach to reach these goals – with hundreds of community members, service providers and three levels of government working together to ensure our kids can grow up as healthy and full of potential as any other group of Australian children.

Three years in to the movement, and Mr Cabaj, who has seen many iterations of collective impact across the globe, says Logan is shining.

“Logan Together is clearly one of the best collective impact models I have seen in the English-speaking world,” he said.

“Everything is in place and this has so much potential – you have something really precious here in Logan.”

Mr Cabaj met with a range of Logan Together partners before speaking to around 100, in a seminar which “sold out” in around three hours.

“We are still in the pioneering phase of place-based collective impact, we are getting really good at codifying practice and seeing results but it really is a work in progress,” he said.

“There is lots of instances of collective impact working in the States and Canada and the data that’s come in so far is there is a large number of programmatic changes, huge increases in capacity, some systems changes, and some population changes, including one city in the States which has actually ended chronic homelessness.”

 “The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese – and what I think has been done particularly well in Logan, is that you have leapfrogged a lot of the early collective impact efforts in the States, and you are operating at a level of sophistication – particularly in data and organisation – that we haven’t witnessed often in North America.

“You are doing things that we have yet to do.”

Mr Cabaj’s advice for Logan Together was simple.

“Community change is really a result of relentless incrementalism. You’ve created a tremendous baseline of readiness and initiatives are happening – generate some more and get ready for a sprint.

“I know you have a ten year timeline so you’ve got plenty of sprints left in you – go for it.”

Logan Together Director Matthew Cox said the day with Mr Cabaj had given him and all Logan Together partners plenty of food for thought.

“There aren’t many people who know as much as Mark does about place-based collective impact approaches – the demands, the challenges, the frustrations and the successes,” he said.

“It is such a great learning experience to have had him here – and extremely reassuring to know we are on the right track!”

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