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