“Opportunity Child is developing an approach to collective impact that is unique in Australia and unique around the world.” – Rich Harwood June 2017
Over 80 people joined us in Melbourne last week at our annual OC Connect event and heard these words spoken by international partner Rich Harwood, from the Harwood Institute.
As our community partners pegged artwork created by under 8’s from their communities on the collective clothesline, our allies, partners, community members, friends and learning network gathered in the room.
The space came to life with the vivid, optimistic and sometimes confronting reflections of those young children who are the focus of our work. Community banners filled the foyer and partner logos from each collective dotted a map of indigenous Australia. The scene had been set to strengthen our alignment and to deepen our commitment to improving outcomes for the 1 in 5.
We came together to say ‘yes’. Yes to valuing the voice of community and to working across sectors to build place-based solutions. Yes to joining together on this learning journey towards achieving our shared goal of dramatically improving the lives of one in five vulnerable Aussie kids. And for so many in the room, yes to continuing to strengthen our collective, to aligning and mobilising our partners and our partners’ partners.
But before we share a full event report with you, when we will outline what OC Connect revealed in terms of:
- Big ideas
- Burning questions
- Human assets and more
…I want to share three key insights OC Connect revealed, as observed by those present.
- We are maturing
Many of us in the room over the two days observed the increasing maturity of we, the Opportunity Child community. The developing understandings and deep learning we are all engaged in offers such hope and a sense of huge possibility. It is increasingly clear that we can be stronger together.
- It takes heart
More than once, the matter of heart was raised as important to the work that we do to improve the outcomes for the #1in5 vulnerable Australian kids. We need to instil heart into our work.
- This work is supposed to be uncomfortable
The work we are doing to create systems change and disrupt the status quo is not easy and it is OK to feel out of your comfort zone and at the edge of competency.
These themes emerged through the two days of alignment and learning and I look forward to delving deeply into the opportunities that emerged as a result of what was shared over the course of the two days.
At OC Connect we showcased the suite of impact tools that Opportunity Child has developed as a community, together with our research partners and experts best equipped to inform and build our evaluation frameworks – the National Measurement Framework, Shared Outcomes Framework, indicator bank, Theory of Change, Pathway to Scale and good practice principles.
All the feedback received during OC Connect will be built into the next iteration of what is set to be a robust set of national resources and tools for collective impact practice and measurement.
To all who attended OC Connect, thank you for being courageous, strong, and at times vulnerable, and for helping define the alternative order.
Stay tuned for an update on the next steps.
To see more photos from OC Connect, follow us on Instagram
About the author: Dr Michelle Lucas is Executive Director of Opportunity Child