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A Year in The Rearview Mirror

This article was written on Thursday 31 December 2020



  1. The action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another.

  2. A marked effect or influence.


  1. To come into forcible contact with another object.

  2. To have a strong effect on someone or something.

Looking into impact beyond the literal definition was and remains an ongoing task that admittedly 2020 sincerely gave us a lot to consider and reconsider. I find myself personally amazed at everything this year has managed to educate everyone I have come into contact with literally, physically and digitally!

We started this community with a firm set of values and beliefs that have been put to the ultimate test this year on all frontiers be it personal, or even professional. And yet here we are…

Through coping we hoped to create a shared understanding of coping mechanisms, developing emotional cognition and articulation of these emotions. We explored together the value of emotional intelligence and knowing when to listen to your gut and when to be more analytical. With Sanjay Gautam we pleaded in the defense of procrastination and saw it’s ties with feelings. And on the subject of emotions nothing can be quoted more than “passion” as a driver of entrepreneurship, that’s what made our conversation with Linda Darahim as definitions of success are put to question so valuable.

We welcomed 21 members to Silverline.

As we geared our focus towards cooperation we deliberated and dissected the subtleties and nuances of coexistence, participation and cooperation. Speaking to Ahmed Wadi we saw the core principles of cooperatives moving confidently right into the 21st century with Money Matters. And thanks to Raffi Tchakerian we journeyed out of this world and saw into the future!

Critical thinking brought all 116 of us back to Earth, to a place where we navigated methods of constructive criticism and analysis. With Rania Jishi we discussed the impact of self-critical thinking as a growth tool for the creative. We had hoped to have a live debate (I haven’t let go of that just yet!!) but perhaps watching the presidential debate is enough to sour the taste of the word debate for quite some time - so hopefully 2021 will be kinder!

and by this time we had become 166 strong

We saw when Raffi Tchakerian (again!) and Mirko Danluzzo put design at the core of impact in a conversation that sees you at the very least looking at cutlery in a whole new way! With abdallah elchami we navigated what is the importance of short-format content and where is it headed to? It was evident how technology has provided an edge to the filmmaking industry and the panel enlightened us with their diverse backgrounds and breadth of experience and refreshing honesty.

Recognising Impact

By November we were experiencing with Layäl Jebran what the Arab domino effect can sound and feel like. The Domino Effect states that when you make a change to one behavior it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviors as well. The Domino Effect capitalizes on one of the core principles of human behavior: commitment and consistency. This phenomenon is explained in the classic book on human behavior, Influence by Robert Cialdini. The core idea is that if people commit to an idea or goal, even in a very small way, they are more likely to honor that commitment because they now see that idea or goal as being aligned with their self-image. This is an interesting byproduct of the Domino Effect. It not only creates a cascade of new behaviors, but often a shift in personal beliefs as well. As each tiny domino falls, you start believing new things about yourself and building identity-based habits

But, is there such a thing as collective impact?

Collective impact is a “new” collaboration format designed to put an end to isolated impact and short-term solutions. This approach to mending social issues was first explained using case studies and given a formal definition in the literature in 2011 by Kania and Kramer. In order for the inventive strategy to be practiced and implemented, Kania and Kramer introduced the concept of collective impact and provided a definition in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

“The commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem”

John Kania, in an interview at the 2015 Tamarak conference, mentioned that the idea of collective impact has existed in some form for decades, but now it is being rebranded with new language. Most importantly, people are realizing that there is a need for a new form of partnership and are becoming more interested in learning how to make a continuous impact in their communities. People are searching for solutions, and collective impact may be the answer.

Collective impact is at times casually called a trend; trends have the ability to make or break industries, behaviours, communication mechanisms and even traditions

Is leadership expected to track their impact?

There is no easy litmus test for leadership. Leaders at higher levels cannot simply take a course and consider themselves improved —development happens every day in the building and maintaining of new habits. It’s about nuance, adaptability, and ability to choose the right approach for the situation and audience. Because this comes down to perceptions, impact, and interpersonal skill sets, the complexity of what we are measuring creates inherent challenges. Addressing these challenges head-on increases the likelihood behavioral improvement will be long-term and sustainable.

It's with these principles we embarked on a conversation with Ouafa Belgacem on the impact of funding in the Culture and Creative Industries. If 2020 has managed to show us one thing it's how behaviours affect data, which in turn informs decisions and efforts of reform. With the new year's resolutions around the corner it's worth recognising what it means as we step closer towards awareness of what is expected from leadership irrespective of the size of their clan; what is expected of communities regardless of their different stakeholders and what's expected from ourselves as individuals that seek meaningful impact.

So here's to 2021...! A year that we can all confidently say "New Year, New Me" and really mean it!



Photo by Mike Chai from Pexels

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