March 17, 2016
There is a difference between being a network by default and being one by intention. Sometimes that can be a big difference. I encounter a fair number of networks that are networks in name and in standing, at least in that they are connected entities. But that is pretty much it. Experience shows there are any number of different ways to structure a network, and name it for that matter.
And what I find is most important is the underlying intention to maximize network effects, including: speeding the spread of resources, ensuring resources reach everyone in the network, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to share resources, growing the overall pie of resources, strengthening adaptive capacity and collective intelligence, growing abundance and equity in many different ways.
What this boils down to is a set of network ethics, which I would summarize (certainly incompletely, and to which I invite additions and alterations) in the following way: Read More
January 20, 2016
How focusing on diversity, flow and structure in human networks can be a foundation for great change.
Over the past couple of years, we at IISC have partnered with a few different social change initiatives that have engaged in system mapping to both align diverse stakeholders and surface leverage points for collective intervention. In looking back at these different mapping processes, it is striking the similarities of the areas of focus that have been identified, despite the variety of issues being addressed (food system fragility to educational disparities to public and environmental health). Across these efforts, common areas of leverage have surfaced around:
July 28, 2015
Just coming off of co-delivering a 2 day Pathway to Change public workshop at IISC with Maanav Thakore, and I’m continuing to think about how important context is to the work of social change. In particular, I’m thinking about how seeing the foundation of all change efforts as being fundamentally networked can yield new possibilities throughout the work. There is the change we plan for, and the change that we don’t plan for and perhaps cannot even imagine – emergence. This is the stuff of networks, of living systems, of decentralized and self-organized activity, which can be encouraged and supported but not often predicted or controlled. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
How do I have to be for you to be free?
May 9, 2012
As I prepare to do a couple of trainings for leadership in multi-stakeholder networks in the New England region (focus being on the skills of facilitation, process design, and managing decision-making), I intend to frame our conversations with some exploration of the differences between traditional organizational leadership and what is required to steward networks towards positive impact. I begin with the presumption that network form and function are chosen strategically for the ability to accomplish something that could not be done at all or as well through other approaches. Whether trying to develop a food system to eliminate food insecurity or change an educational system to yield more equitable opportunities and outcomes, the attraction to a network approach is likely due to a desire for some combination of the following: Read More
June 29, 2011
“It is time we recognized that ‘the system’ is how we work together.”
|Image from Carlos Gershenson|http://complexes.blogspot.com/2008_06_01_archive.html|
I’m writing this post from Quincy, Massachusetts where I’m attending the International Conference on Complex Systems. My head is very full and there is much to process that will no doubt spur further posts. A question I brought with me into these proceedings is what we are learning from complexity (in fields such as systems biology, network theory, epidemiology) about developing stronger collective regenerative capacity, the ability to work with each other and our various contexts in order to both survive and thrive (co-evolve). So here is a first take, in alliterative fashion: Read More
February 3, 2011
“It’s hard to make a difference when everyone is tangled up in the rigging of procedural formality and blanketed in fog.”
-Roberta’s Rules of Order
With all of the snow days we’ve had so far in 2011, you’ll understand if I begin this post from a “when things don’t go according to plan” mindset. We’ve all taken our lumps in doing collaborative work, even with the best laid plans and best intentions in place. I’ve had the opportunity to do a little reflecting (in between tours of duty shoveling) on what has made for more successful and less successful collaborative endeavors, and here are some of the important lessons I’ve learned when things have not gone as well as had been hoped for: Read More