ImpactTulsa brings community partners together within collaborative action networks that aim to solve societal problems through strategic dialogue and collective action.


ImpactTulsa brings community partners together within collaborative action networks that aim to solve societal problems through strategic dialogue and collective action.

What is a Collaborative Action Network (CAN)?

A space to collectively understand and solve pressing community issues with those most impacted by the problem leading the vision alongside those with ability to influence system change. The focus is intended to specifically target the cause of the problem, rather than address a symptom of the problem.

Collaborative: Develop the relationships, self-awareness and equity processes to use a diverse array of perspectives, roles, experiences to effectively work together.

Action: Engage in collaborative improvement through investing time and resources into both understanding the root cause of the problem, identify solutions and test the efficacy of those solutions.

Network: Bridging of informal and formal authority to share resources, knowledge and influence to collectively address system inequities that could not be resolved by a single entity.

Why do we create CANs?

The inequities that are shown across a wide variety of education outcomes in the Tulsa region are alarming and unacceptable, thus ImpactTulsa convenes partners to work together in new ways to directly analyze and address these disparities. ImpactTulsa convenes CAN’s specifically to support partners to learn and act together in a manner that helps resolve systemic inequities within the education and adjacent sectors, also referred to as cradle-to-career outcomes.

Further, the collaborative process requires more than bringing people into the same space to problem solve together. It also entails reallocation of power and resources that are supported by deep and meaningful relationship building. Thus, CANs also create opportunities for partners to practice working together in ways that cultivate adaptive leadership, build transparency, and consistently center an equity focused approach.

What is systems transformation?

Systems transformation happens through shifts in policies, policies, practices, resources and power structures in a manner that eliminates structural racism and advances equitable outcomes.

Why does ImpactTulsa use CANs as an approach to support systems transformation?

ImpactTulsa believes that equitable systemic change comes from bringing together the people most impacted by an issue with the people who have access to resources to make change happen. Together they can make data-informed decisions with the intention of creating lasting and meaningful solutions. If any of those components are missing, there’s a risk of creating solutions that don’t last or that don’t truly address disparities. Because CANs integrate all these elements, ImpactTulsa sees it as a vital approach.

In addition, the interpersonal and intrapersonal awareness that is developed through participation in the CANs further equips participants to have sustaining partnerships that are grounded in effectively working to overcome educational disparities. Thus, it opens up opportunities for additional system change work beyond the CAN sessions.

What makes CANs unique?

CANs are intentional in who they gather and how they go about doing the work, which helps move the group from talk to action.

Who: CANs bring together those most impacted by an issue through lived experience and/or through professional connection to the issue. Ample representation from both groups helps ensure alignment between the problem and the solution.

How: ImpactTulsa integrates key components (in alignment to Strive Together’s model) to help support the group to successfully understand why inequities exist, as well as identify solutions. These tools equip teams to understand and acknowledge difficult truths about inequities that need to be addressed in order to create meaningful and lasting systems change. The components include the following:

  • Results Count: meeting design that promotes inclusion, accountability and moving talk to action
  • Equity: Prioritization of an equity focus both in how the group operates and outcomes of the work
  • Continuous Improvement: Use of data and continuous improvement tools to guide root cause analysis and testing of new ideas
  • Human Centered Design: Centering of those most impacted by the issue in decision making

ImpactTulsa also places great emphasis on adaptive leadership through integration of adaptive leadership principles into group processes including conflict resolution, self-reflection, personal and organizational accountability and cultivating trust across participants as key tools for developing group rapport.

In addition, ImpactTulsa has funding dedicated to support implementation of the ideas generated from each CAN which further moves the work from talk to action.

How do we select a focus area?

Based on data (both qualitative and quantitative) that demonstrates needs and disparities in educational outcomes, ImpactTulsa then uses a checklist to narrow down potential topics. This checklist ensures that key foundational components are available before moving forward with a topic idea. These foundational components take into consideration availability of data to guide decision-making, interest of key partners to engage and lead the work,  infusion of community authority, opportunity to support capacity building and alignment with ImpactTulsa’s mission and focal areas.

918 Educate

The 918 Educate Collaborative Action Network is a community partnership dedicated to increasing high school completion and postsecondary enrollment for individuals in the Tulsa region.


THE Consortium

Founded as the Tulsa Collaborative in 2018, Tulsa’s Higher Education (THE) Consortium is a multi-institutional collaborative effort to meaningfully improve students’ journeys towards degree completion, professional independence, and mobility.



ImpactTulsa’s Collaborative Action Networks (CANs) engage partners across organizations to collectively take action to improve community-level outcomes using data-driven continuous improvement.