20 Questions – Network Style

February 15, 2012 Leave a comment
Social network between the participants of

|Photo by Hans Poldoja|

Last week I was privileged to attend a gathering of practitioners from across sectors to discuss the successes and challenges of working in networked ways.  The Northern New England Network Community of Practice met in Portsmouth, NH for a full day of conversations facilitated by members of Maine Network Partners.  Throughout the day many critical questions were raised about and stemming from net work.  No one pretended to necessarily have all of the answers to these, or to imagine that what works in one case will necessarily work in another.  Nonetheless, we look forward to exploring any patterns that do show up across experiences in our respective network efforts, whether we are talking small or large scale, local or regional, within a sector or across sectors . . .

  1. How do we help people embrace failure as a necessary part of learning and thriving?
  2. How do we really work on social equity in and through networks?
  3. How do we change power dynamics in and through networks?
  4. How do we measure what matters, and keep that at the center of our net work?
  5. How do we identify and tap the latent potential of individuals in networks?
  6. What are the core competencies of network leadership? How do we cultivate these in ourselves and others?
  7. How do we approach network governance in ways that balance structure and emergence?
  8. How do we work through people’s initial resistance to relationship-building?
  9. How do we anticipate and plan for natural leadership transitions in networks?
  10. How do we ensure that we preserve spaces for “the grassroots” and those who are most impacted by the issues to be centrally involved?
  11. How do you serve as a hub without doing too much hand holding?
  12. How do we knit local efforts together in such a way that they are truly more than their sum?
  13. How do we make sure we are well prepared with respect to resources to support net work?
  14. How do we work through process intolerance?
  15. How do we scale up or down?
  16. How do we do net work against a backdrop of a lack of political will?
  17. How do we help people overcome skepticism that this is “just another approach”?
  18. How do we keep our eyes on the margins and keep the periphery close?
  19. How do we use data in a way that coheres people instead of driving them away?
  20. How do we place boundaries on the work that directs it without leaving out new thinking?

Please freely share any additional questions and/or reactions you have to those above.

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