Networks are beautiful | Beth's Blog

Networks are beautiful

Networked Nonprofit

Photo by Rumpleteaser

Guest post from Stephanie McAuliffe

Bob Agres Executive Director of Hawai’i Alliance for Community Based Economic Development said that network weaving is the humility to discover the unique gift of each person you encounter and to connect it with a need. That’s beautiful.  I heard several people at the Gran maker’s Gathering on Networks say that networks are beautiful. I find beauty in the trust that allows network ties to strengthen and in the visual representation of networks.

It is fun to join 150 people sorting through what is new about networks after eons of collective activity.  Robin Katcher from Management Assistance Group and Sartita Gupta from Jobs with Justice resolved oneold/new conundrum by using the phrase “movement networks”.  They then stunningly laid out their disciplined approach to building those networks.  The Jobs for Justice movement seems to be benefiting from trust developed between participants in a leadership program who chose to work together afterwards, and the trust Sartita gives Robin as her networks coach.

There is beauty in finding new language. You can skip this or scoff if you resist jargon and buzz words. How about “systemic civic stewardship”?  Katherine Fulton of the Monitor Institute sited this phrase as emerging language in her keynote. Systemic civic stewardship is a pretty great description of the opportunity grantmakers have. In her afternoon keynote Lisa Gansky author of Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing used the word” skeptimsitic”.

The excellent free downloadable guide that came with the conference, Catalyzing Networks for Social Change suggests  that we need to “unlearn a mindset and way for working that stubbornly defaults toward maintaining firm control, holding tight to  information and insight and investing in social change one organization at time”

I am more than skeptimsitic that philanthropy will meet Katherine’s keynote challenge to “look beyond the parts as wholes, at the relationship among things, at the growing interdependencies, and the new abilities technology affords to coordinate across boundaries.”





Stephanie McAuliffe is director of human resources and organizational effectiveness at The David and Lucile Packard Foundation in Los Altos, CA

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