Collaboration and collective impact may appear to be the same, in concept and implication, but they are not. There is a huge difference between collaboration and collective impact. Before we begin discussing the difference, let us factor in a few caveats.

Both collaboration and collective impact can coexist. They can be the same thing if one leads to the other. Also, both can be completely disassociated. It is not necessary that every kind of collaboration will have a collective impact. The practice of collaboration and collective impact is widespread in all industries and events are no different. Even Apple collaborates but it doesn’t necessarily practice collective impact. For that, it has its own teams and doesn’t entrust the Chinese manufactures to get the job done.

What is Collaboration?

Teaming up, partnering or hiring someone for a particular skill, all are different types of collaboration. Whenever one individual or company works with another individual or company, for whatever purpose, it is collaboration. An event management company needs various vendors. One must work with managers or owners of venues, caterers, decorators, technicians and a plethora of other professionals depending on the nature of an event and hence the demands. All these would qualify as collaboration.

What is Collective Impact?

Collective impact is the result of a team working on a project with the same agenda or mission, sharing the stakes and the promises of the returns. When a group of employees working for an event management company get together and put up a great show, it is collective impact. All employees have a stake in the success of the event and they all share the glory, perhaps the riches too, if the event changes their lives and the fortune of the company.

Difference between Collaboration and Collective Impact

Imagine a Hollywood producer traveling to France and procuring the rights of a composition of a jazz musician based in Marseille. This is collaboration. The jazz musician offers his skill, in this case a product which is the composition, and gets paid in return. The producer uses the composition as needed and as wanted by the director with no role of the musician on the final outcome or project.

Now imagine the Hollywood producer forming a team with the jazz musician to compose for the film or television series and wherein both have stakes to ensure that the project is a success. The stakes don’t have to be monetary since the musician would get paid beforehand anyway. It is the responsibility the musician is entrusted with, the association the director would have with the musician and the collective effort that would go in to making the project a success. That is collective impact.

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