Abstract for:From competition to collaboration: Bringing organizations together to enable an integrated system-of-care strategy

Background. Georgia’s Interagency Directors Team (IDT) was formed to design and implement an integrated child and adolescent system of care. It comprises over 20 state agencies and NGOs serving children with behavioral health needs. Problem. In its first year, the IDT failed to gel as a team, hampered by siloed thinking, competition, and lack of shared vision. Approach. Through a participatory process, the team built three system dynamics maps that reflected and facilitated a transition from competition to collaboration. Models. The first map reflects a service-oriented system, lacking vision and appearing to validate competitiveness. The second shows the desired outcome that all IDT members share: children with mental health needs growing into adults with maximum quality of life. Organizations see their own and others’ roles in moving children toward the desired future. The third illustrates ten types of strategic opportunities for improvement. Impact. Members of the IDT moved to a new mental model of a system in which all play important roles. Inspired by their shared, larger vision, they worked together on a statewide strategic plan. They continue to use their maps, enlarged and laminated and becoming dog-eared, for internal and external conversations.