Developing Network Weavers

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

The gap between theory and practice is always larger than we tend to see.  I love my job because it consistently invites me to help groups bridge this gap.  I just had a beautiful time working with a group of network weavers who are part of the Young People’s Project.  The task is to help them understand how networks work and how to behave as weavers for their own national network.

The challenge of this work has been to take all the amazing things we are learning about the role of weavers in a network and figure out how to apply these to the day to day work of these weavers.  Instead of spending too much of our time in the fuzzy world of network theory, I grabbed directly from Jack Ricchiuto’s piece on The Power of Network Weaving and went on to adapt it to very practical exercises for the weavers.

This, and the awesome mentorship of Bill Traynor of Lawrence Community Works (who is working along with us under the skilled leadership of Root Cause on YPP’s Business Planning Process) allowed me to design and facilitate a retreat that focused on the very essentials of network building within the practical day to day work of these new network weavers.

To quote directly from Jack, the weaver’s are learning to:

1. Constantly learn about the assets and opportunities in the network.

2. Constantly learn about the dreams of people in the network.

3. Constantly introduce and connect people with complementary dreams and assets.

They are learning that local come first and they are building strong authentic relationships with each other.  Put these together and we are on our way!

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  • Curtis says:


    Love this and would also like to spell out clearly for ourselves and others the difference between community organizing and network weaving. Last week I had some good conversations about this with various activists around the region. What I tried to convey is that by leading with relationships, we not only create deeper motivation for people to stay a part of the movement, but also build in the potential for these “networks” to adjust and address a variety of issues. It therefore becomes an issue of greater adaptability and self-organization. Anything to report from you work with YPP or others on this distinction?


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