System-shifting networks

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System-shifting networks operate at three nested levels of organisation:

  • Work teams: small (5 +/-2 people). Best if they work in an agile way
  • Communities of practice: include strong and weak ties (as this gathering demonstrates: some people know each other very well, others are meeting for the first time)
  • Networks: tend to be dominated by weak ties

A system-shifting network is a set of organisations, individuals and funders (e.g. FundAction, who support the SCP meetings). The basis of collaboration is provided by a platform: a support structure to enable collaboration.

Scaffolding: a concept derived from educational theory, it consists of a structural support for work in progress.

Six key elements have been identified in the literature:

  • A communications system (combination of online tools)
  • An innovation or activation fund
  • Communities of practice
  • Catalysts (pools of facilitators)
  • A tracking and learning system
  • A governance system: protocols for co-design, advice and consent

Further Reading: