Our Approach

Theory of Change

In a rapidly changing world, many busy parents struggle to cope without support from extended family, neighbours and friends. The Alliance believes the best solutions to seemingly intractable social problems emerge when all those affected have a say in the design of answers. Our members think and work together by combining:

– Evidence-based research about what creates child, family and community resilience and wellbeing
– Knowledge and processes from the organisational development and leadership fields
– Locally designed governance structures
– Collaborative strategic planning

Our overall approach is described in our Theory of Change.

The core Alliance members are leaders of organisations and networks who can commit many people to collaborative regional visions and action plans, and influence the way their colleagues carry out their work.

The Alliance’s service networks plan provides a collaborative structure for professionals and volunteers working with families.

SFA Theory of change

Collective Impact

The Alliance is one of the most established examples of a structured collaborative network in Australia, propelling social change from deep within Blue Mountains communities. From its inception in 2006, the Alliance has been guided by the five conditions of collective impact: a common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support.

Like other successful collective impact projects, the Alliance has a “backbone“ — a dedicated convener employed by the Blue Mountains City Council to develop and implement the new Child Youth and Family Plan and coordinate strategic planning.

Collective impact is put into practice using positive organisational development to unite members from disparate organisations. Strengths-based theory and other large-group processes are used to deepen understanding and create robust relationships.

Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative inquiry cements new professional affiliations, taking into account each person’s outlook, skills and knowledge. Leadership is also essential to change, especially in networks that become more complex over time. Facilitative leadership moves the Alliance partners forward, and collaborative leadership generates strong bonds and shared attitudes. Adaptive leadership promotes flexible thinking to achieve fast, lasting results.