WHY NETWORK ECOLOGY?
POWER OF NETWORKS
We believe in the power of networks to build a new foundation for achieving social change. Through creating trusting relationships, integrating issues, and setting a compelling vision and clear outcomes, networks are increasingly the new platform for social justice and sustainability efforts to transform systems.
CATALYZE THROUGH SHARING
We are a small group of network practitioners dedicated to sharing practices for network success through developing toolkits and case studies; hosting convenings, trainings and conversations among network practitioners (including network members, consultants, funders, software developers, and researchers); and, supporting innovative projects and opportunities to catalyze networks at different scales and life stages.
There is a balance between creating an opportunity for action tailored to specific circumstances and issues, and “reinventing the wheel” when practices, tools, and examples exist and can be effectively shared online or in-person. There is also a tremendous need in the field for funders, consultants and network facilitators/coordinators to learn about and apply network mindsets and practices. We strive to work together and with others modeling a network approach to build capacity, support specific efforts, and explore new methods of network practice.
Scale + complexity
We believe that the growing prevalence of networks for social change among institutions and individuals at a local, regional, national, and global level requires parallel growth in the ability of funders, change consultants, and network managers and to provide appropriate capacity-building for such efforts. Networks are places for emergent learning and, as they connect a range of different organizations and issues, a crucible for navigating complexity.
Most importantly, we do this work as we see networks as the seed-bed of growing more effective movements for social change. We envision and work in service to a more just, humane, prosperous, and beautiful world.
What we do
TOOLS + RESOURCE CURATION
Support network learning and practice by offering tools to improve understanding and application of network philosophy, structure, and function; develop case studies to illustrate and share stories of network success (and failure), highlighting lessons learned for the field; create an online learning library of seminal network articles and tools.
Practioner Training + Convening
Host virtual and face-to-face workshops and conversations to advance the field of network practice for social change (including webinars, tailored training for networks, and larger practitioner convenings).
Pursue network development and strategy opportunities to model a collaborative consulting approach and profile tools, practices, and lessons learned to build capacity across the field of network practitioners. Services include network structure creation, network strategy, network facilitation, network mapping, and network evaluation.
Network practice field building
This is the meta-work. We convene network weavers, build, adapt and test tools that support network development, and interface with other thought leaders in the field.
WHO WE ARE
Odin and Ari created a set of mindsets and practices to help guide network weavers. Check out the beautiful, ecologically-grounded posters below. Feel free to use and share them, and let us know how it goes! Click here to download a zip file (15 mb) of these images at high resolution or a pdf (2[…]
View the Google Document to add comments. Table of Contents Framing Paper: The State of Network Evaluation (Network Impact, 2014) Diagnostic Tool: Network Effectiveness (Monitor Institute, n.d.) Toolkit: Network Health Scorecard (Arbor Consulting Partners and Network Impact, 2009) Framework: Network Evolution Assessment (Connecting to Change the World, 2015) For further reading Introductory Thoughts The[…]
Experimentation is a central practice for groups trying to collaborate more effectively, especially those that are trying to tackle complex problems. In particular, experimentation is a powerful way for a group to learn and improve collectively and quickly. However, it’s not easy to do this. It requires discipline and rigor, a set of well-developed muscles[…]
This prezi – an interactive, online presentation – will walk viewers through the basics of networks. This includes a set of characteristics of successful networks, a definition of networks, and a discussion of the benefits of networks.
Transformative Philanthropy Resources The following is a list of articles, blog posts, organizations and guides that demonstrate the emergence of a new mindset and practice across philanthropy. It has a particular focus on social equity, racial justice, and building networks/movement alignment as three core areas progressive philanthropy is exploring–and where it must increasingly devote attention[…]
View this as a Google Document to leave your comments. Table of Contents Synthesis thoughts, provoking questions Toolkit: A Network Approach to Capacity Building (Council of Nonprofits, 2015) Academic Article: Building Local Infrastructure for Community Adoption of Science-Based Prevention: The Role of Coalition Functioning (Prevention Science, 2015) Briefing Paper: Capacity Building 3.0 (The TCC[…]
Have you ever heard the story of the blind men and an elephant? It’s a story that’s often used as a metaphor to understand complex systems and networks. Each person within the network (or touching a different part of the elephant) sees or feels it a different way. Having worked with several movement networks[…]
Network Ecology We are in an era where the challenges of social justice and creating more resilient communities require us to embrace complexity. This complexity lives both in the way we think about systems that helps us craft solutions at scale and also in how we structure ourselves. To create this change, we need to[…]