Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change

Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change

by David Ehrlichman
Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change

Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change

by David Ehrlichman


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This practical guide shows how to facilitate collaboration among diverse individuals and organizations to navigate complexity and create change in our interconnected world.

The social and environmental challenges we face today are not only complex, they are also systemic and structural and have no obvious solutions. They require diverse combinations of people, organizations, and sectors to coordinate actions and work together even when the way forward is unclear. Even so, collaborative efforts often fail because they attempt to navigate complexity with traditional strategic plans, created by hierarchies that ignore the way people naturally connect.

By embracing a living-systems approach to organizing, impact networks bring people together to build relationships across boundaries; leverage the existing work, skills, and motivations of the group; and make progress amid unpredictable and ever-changing conditions. As a powerful and flexible organizing system that can span regions, organizations, and silos of all kinds, impact networks underlie some of the most impressive and large-scale efforts to create change across the globe.

David Ehrlichman draws on his experience as a network builder; interviews with dozens of network leaders; and insights from the fields of network science, community building, and systems thinking to provide a clear process for creating and developing impact networks. Given the increasing complexity of our society and the issues we face, our ability to form, grow, and work through networks has never been more essential.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781523091683
Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publication date: 10/12/2021
Pages: 264
Sales rank: 401,211
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.56(h) x 0.67(d)

About the Author

David Ehrlichman is cofounder and coordinator of Converge, a network of systems strategists, designers, facilitators, educators, and evaluators committed to cocreating positive impact. Converge practitioners have helped develop over fifty impact networks across the United States and the world, taking action on issues as diverse as economic mobility, human rights, access to science, and healthcare reform. Ehrlichman previously worked as a consultant at the Monitor Institute and was a network coordinator for the Fresno New Leadership Network, the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network, and Sterling Network NYC.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Introduction 1

Part 1 Working through Networks 11

Chapter 1 The Web of Change 13

Networks for Impact 16

Reiationships: The Heart of Networks 26

Chapter 2 The Network Mindset 30

The Hierarchical Mindset 32

Networks and Hierarchies, Together 35

Making the Mindset Shift 38

Chapter 3 Making Networks Work 44

Primary Forms of Impact Networks 45

Core Activities of Impact Networks 51

Chapter 4 Network Leadership 59

Network Leadership Roles 60

Principles of Network Leadership 62

Part 2 Cultivating Impact Networks 81

Chapter 5 Clarify Purpose and Principles 83

Catalyzing a New Network 83

Finding Common Purpose 90

Defining Shared Principles 98

Chapter 6 Convene the People 105

Inviting Co-creation 105

Designing Meaningful Gatherings 110

Facilitating Emergent Outcomes 119

Chapter 7 Cultivate Trust 129

Weaving Connections 131

Deepening Trust 135

Holding Courageous Conversations 143

Chapter 8 Coordinate Actions 149

Accelerating Flows 150

Practicing Reciprocity 158

Responding to Crisis 159

Chapter 9 Collaborate for Systems Change 162

Making Sense of the System 163

Creating Transformation 169

Planting Sequoias 176

Chapter 10 The Enabling Infrastructure 179

Organizing into Teams 181

Bounding Participation 185

Making Collective Decisions 189

Embedding Evaluation 193

Resourcing Networks 201

Conclusion 207

Notes 211

Glossary 225

Selected Bibliography 229

Acknowiedgments 235

Index 237

About the Author 245

About Converge 246

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