Tag Archive: network

July 7, 2016

Distribution, Diversity, Dignity: Networking the “Business Case” for a Regional Food System

Feed-New-England-cover

For the past 4 years, IISC has supported Food Solutions New England (FSNE) in developing a network and collaborative practices to forward its work for “an equitable, ecological regional food system that supports thriving communities.” In the past year, this work has included conducting a system mapping and analysis process to identify leverage areas for regional strategy development. One of these leverage areas is “making the business case for an equitable ecological regional food system,” which includes thinking at the levels of individual food-related businesses, economic development, and political economy. Strategy development will begin in earnest this fall, and as a precursor, IISC and FSNE facilitated a convening of businesses and community members in the Boston area to discuss how business are already aligning with the New England Food Vision and the real challenges that stand in the way. What follows is a summary of that evening’s conversation.

“You have to be patient, develop trust, and have people go with you.” These were words from Karen Masterson, co-owner of Johnny’s Luncheonette in Newton, MA as she talked about what it takes to align her business with the aspirations of the New England Food Vision. Read More

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June 16, 2016

Leveraging a New (Food) System Narrative

Slides for Summit 2016Last week over 190 delegates attended the 6th annual New England Food Summit in Bridgeport, Connecticut. This marked the completion of a cycle through all six New England states and an important moment in the evolution of Food Solutions New England, a network of networks that has been in development with IISC’s support around a bold Food Vision that sees the region becoming more connected and self-sufficient while supporting a more equitable, eco-logical and vibrant food economy.

Leading up to the Summit, the FSNE Network Team engaged in a year-long system mapping and analysis process that yielded a few key systemic health indicators associated with the Vision as well as a set of leverage areas for framing and advancing regional strategies in the direction of the Vision:

  1. Engaging and mobilizing people for action
  2. Cultivating and connecting leadership
  3. Making the business case for a more robust, equitable and eco-logical regional food system
  4. Weaving diverse knowledge and inspiration into a new food narrative

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January 20, 2016

Network Development as Leverage for System Change

How focusing on diversity, flow and structure in human networks can be a foundation for great change.

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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:

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March 27, 2013

Network Protection

Tree Aid

|Photo by TREEAID|http://www.flickr.com/photos/53871588@N05/5726759624|

This post is not exactly about an insurance policy, at least not in the traditional sense.  Picking up on the metaphor of last week’s piece on “Network Gardening,” today we bring focus to how we can protect the early growth of networks for social change.  Protect them from what?  The temptation to jump to action too quickly, leapfrogging the “problem conversation,” the tendency to want to institutionalize everything (what a friend calls “incorporation fever”), naysayers, exclusionist practices, and the heavy hitters who are used to getting their way.   Read More

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June 27, 2012

“Only Connect”

This famous E.M. Forster quote takes on new meaning in this age of quantum waves and particles, Twitter, and Facebook.  But the depth of what he was saying is timeless: connect with one another through old and new means to realize that we are one family, one world, one universe.

At IISC, we are committed to deepening our connections, fostering collaborative efforts, and learning together in service of social transformation.  And so it is that IISC is formally announcing the launch of our blog, as another way that we can connect and learn from you in our common quest to build a more just and sustainable world.

In that spirit, I want to share with you some of what we have been learning across the three areas that we believe are foundational to the work of social transformation: network building; diversity, equity and inclusion; and, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “the love that does justice.” Read More

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June 27, 2012

"Only Connect"

This famous E.M. Forster quote takes on new meaning in this age of quantum waves and particles, Twitter, and Facebook.  But the depth of what he was saying is timeless: connect with one another through old and new means to realize that we are one family, one world, one universe.

At IISC, we are committed to deepening our connections, fostering collaborative efforts, and learning together in service of social transformation.  And so it is that IISC is formally announcing the launch of our blog, as another way that we can connect and learn from you in our common quest to build a more just and sustainable world.

In that spirit, I want to share with you some of what we have been learning across the three areas that we believe are foundational to the work of social transformation: network building; diversity, equity and inclusion; and, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “the love that does justice.” Read More

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May 2, 2011

An Emerging Network

Photo By: CTRC
The following was originally written as a guest post to the Leadership Learning Community Blog

I’m currently engaged in a number of network building efforts, each different in scope and scale, all focused on leadership and collaboration.  My work with the Barr Fellows is one such effort.  I have been working closely with the 2009 cohort of fellows and will be working closely with the 2011 cohort.  I am also working on the effort to integrate all four cohorts into a Barr Fellows Network; a leadership network that can significantly affect social change in Boston. Read More

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August 2, 2010

Transcend Organizational Constraints

Collective Leadership

This is a very exciting time for those of us who are working to apply the logic of networks to the work of social change.  Our ideas are gaining traction as more and more experiments start to point towards success.  Life online, the viral nature of meaningful stories and our human desire for deeper connection all serve to confirm our intuitive understanding of life in a network.  However, as we step into this paradigm shift, as we start to approve of these ideas, we still have to contend with the constraints of the organizational and funding structures within which we currently work. Read More

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January 26, 2010

Don’t Get Yourself Isolated

Only Connect

I was intrigued by the title of Mark Danner’s recent opinion in the New York Times, “To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature.”  And I could not help making a connection to the recent “Che” movie I just watched.  The Cuban and Haitian revolutions took place during very different historical periods, but both victories were a refusal to accept destiny as prescribed by the ruling world order of their time.

And each time the dominant world order responded with the same strategy – a policy of isolation.

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January 26, 2010

Don't Get Yourself Isolated

Only Connect

I was intrigued by the title of Mark Danner’s recent opinion in the New York Times, “To Heal Haiti, Look to History, Not Nature.”  And I could not help making a connection to the recent “Che” movie I just watched.  The Cuban and Haitian revolutions took place during very different historical periods, but both victories were a refusal to accept destiny as prescribed by the ruling world order of their time.

And each time the dominant world order responded with the same strategy – a policy of isolation.

Read More

3 Comments