Creating inner clarity and building capacity for deliberate action.
The Power of networks
Working and organising ourselves in networks is a powerful way to leverage our collective power for impact.
Healthy and active networks or communities can spark new ideas and innovations, foster synergies and collaborations, make better use of resources and knowledge, and connect us and our work to a purpose beyond ourselves. Many of us are already part of one or multiple networks - yet are we tapping into to its full potential?
Often it can be hard to grasp the impact of our network on a broader scale, or our contribution to it, or the benefit it provides to those who are part of it. Perhaps there’s a lack of connection and engagement between the different people and organisations, or a challenge with channeling information and resources. So how can we make sense of all the information we have about the network and unlock community engagement?
In the end it's all about the quality and number of connections. Those connections (e.g. personal relationships or the flow of information) are the foundation of the actions the network carries out - and the level of trust that is present within it.
Thinking in this way means sifting our perspective from a linear paradigm towards a systems perspective where dynamic connections and relationships are at the core. This paradigm shift is crucial not only to leverage networks, but to take joint action and tackle complex social challenges in a far-from-linear world.
Leverage points for transformation
Our approach to empowering networks
We work together with networks and communities to leverage their collective power. Our approach follows a holistic cycle of reflection, capacity building and deliberate, joint action.
Seeing the system
The first step is all about enabling the network to see itself. Who is in the network and how are the actors connected? What resources are available and lacking? What challenges are there?
Painting a complete picture in this way enables strategic planning and community engagement. For this we work with networks to collect and visualise data which creates transparency and clarity about the status quo. Depending on the specific case, our methods include:
- Network visualisation (social network mapping)
- Social Network Analysis
- Phenomenological approaches
- Surveys and story harvesting
All approaches empower the network or community to understand existing resources and connections as well as needs and challenges. The key is to tap into available data and information in a new way.
Inner capacity building
Step 2 is about building the capacities in the network which support deliberate action and sustained impact.
Inner capacity building includes strengthening the knowledge, skills and resources available in the network, as well as supporting the invisible, yet equally important, components such as the level of trust and resilience in the system.
Based on the outcomes of Step 1, we work together with networks to identify needs and design interventions to build those capacities. This can include the individuals or organisations in the network, the core organisers of the network, or the network as a whole.
Examples of interventions include:
- Targeted trainings and support
- Community calls and events to build and strengthen connections deliberately
- Tools and methods for collaboration, leadership, systems thinking, etc.
Deliberate Joint action
The goal of the first two steps is to enable your network or community to take strategic and joint action. In the end, it's about translating the connections, knowledge and capacities of your network into meaningful action.