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"We are starting this year with a new resolution: to look forward with hope; to explore the signs that positive and sustainable change is possible; to create spaces to make sense of what's happening; and to identify steps we can take towards a more positive future and the vision of a Collaborative Society. We will do this through a new inquiry for 2021, The Hope Inquiry."
This is how we at Collaborate started the New Year - amidst lockdown, homeschooling, and all the other Covid-related challenges that we've faced in the first couple of months, we launched our new inquiry focused on hope about the future and the changes that can be grown from what's been learned over the past year.

We are committed to looking forward, and to working with out partners and fellow travellers to shape the inevitable changes that will follow the pandemic in a way that builds on the signs of positivity and determination we see in all areas of our work. We invite you to join us and will share more information about how soon - if you'd like to find out more please
get in touch!

In the meantime, here are a few reasons to be hopeful from our current work:
Collaborative leadership and the positivity of local government chief executives:

In partnership with Solace, we recently hosted a gathering of around 30 local government chief executives who have participated in the Solace/Collaborate Ignite system leadership programme since it began in 2017. They reflected on what the past year had meant for them: personally, and in their leadership roles, and for their local systems. There’s no doubt people are tired and have had the hardest professional year of their lives. However, they are also full of confidence about the way they, local partners and communities have responded, and hopeful about the future, talking about the ways that stronger relationships, trust and collaborative ways of working can provide new platforms for change. We are going to write a report this year that shares all we’ve learned about collaborative leadership in local government from Ignite.

Collaborative public services and the expanding movement for Human Learning Systems:

Human Learning Systems has found a huge audience in recent years, with the second report Exploring the New World being viewed over 17,000 times to date. The appetite among people to fund, commission, manage and create change in ways that allow us to work through relationships, connect as humans and learn together is clear. We’re now working with a range of partners and case study organisations to create Living the New World: a new, collaboratively authored report that explores the many ways in which this new practice is being brought to life. The report will be published as an online resource in the Spring.

Collaborative organising and the Cornerstone Fund:

We recently published the learning report from the first two years of the ground-breaking Cornerstone Fund, a collaboration of funders who are seeking to enable systems change both by funding systems change initiatives, and by experimenting with how to fund systems change effectively and influencing for the adoption of this practice more widely. In many ways the Fund has been testing ways of working that have since become a necessity in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — working collaboratively, taking an emergent iterative approach, amplifying the voice and role of communities, and funders joining forces and trusting the organisations they fund to do the right thing in their specific context. As the report shows, there are important lessons from the Fund for both civil society organisations and funders about the potential of collaborative approaches to social change which are more important than ever as we seek to tackle the inequalities that have deepened during the pandemic.

The growing Collaborate team:

We have recently been joined by four new team members, all of whom have made a great start and bring a range of experience to the team which will help us continue to strengthen and grow our offer. Welcome Elle, Taj, Lewis and Naomi! Read Elle’s blog  about why she joined Collaborate.


We hope you are also finding reasons to be hopeful in your work. We’d love to hear about them and how you think you can use hope to create change, so please do feel free to get in touch about this, or anything else we can do to help.
Anna and the Collaborate team


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