Dutch Govt Cross Ministry Oversight And Knowledge Sharing For Sustainability
Meshworking – a support service for
Cross-cutting Sustainability Programs
A meshwork™ is a Structured Collaboration Across
Organisations to Accelerate Learning and Results
1. Summary ......................................................................... 2
2. Proven global best practice ................................................. 5
3. A practical approach .......................................................... 5
4. Meshwork Elements Reducing Cost Time and Risk .................. 6
5. Online Technology Platform ................................................. 7
6. Examples of software platform ............................................ 8
Leaders for Nature ............................................................. 8
7. Facilitated Meetings ......................................................... 10
8. Training Modules ............................................................. 11
9. Meshwork Development Roadmap ...................................... 13
10. Program Meshwork Support Process ................................. 14
11. Conclusion .................................................................... 15
Appendix 1: Selection Criteria for software to support MIDIR
methodology ........................................................................ 17
A paper by Centre for Human Emergence and Gaiasoft
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 1
Many organisations face the challenge of how to develop and implement
sustainability programs effectively and efficiently. How can many
ministries, departments and agencies work together to fast track progress
and results? This paper references and builds on CHE and Gaiasoft’s
extensive practical experience in the Netherlands and internationally and
on the global best practice research of the EU MIDIR research project.
This paper outlines a meshworki support service for developing and
implementing cross-cutting sustainability programs.
Meshworking links people, performance and knowledge within a common
program framework to achieve results. Meshworking support improves
collaboration, synergy and oversight, while reducing cost, time and risk of
delivering program outcomes.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 2
The program facilitation is a proven process that nurtures commitment
and confidence and develops team ownership, engagement and capacity.
The process is enabled by unique1 meshworking software which connects
people, manages accountability and actions, harvesting and re-using
knowledge to scale program results.
The program meshwork support solution enables the program
management team to:
• build on the strengths and diverse perspectives of cross-cutting
teams through facilitation, mentoring and online support
• integrate existing knowledge and information technology resources2
within the framework of the program meshwork
• build effective communities of practice for each cross-cutting
project and for the sustainability team within each ministry.
Gaiasoft’s international patents and patents pending provide unique security and
openness, protecting what must be private behind the firewall and connecting
with people and resources from the public internet where appropriate. An
Integration is through web services standards and Service Oriented
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 3
2. Proven global best practice
Global best practice research3 confirms that cross-cutting programs are
most likely to succeed and scale if they:
• Take an integral approach, combining attention to collective
structure and culture, as well as individual mindset and behaviour
• Combine a shared flexible template for performance
• Include a technology platform for monitoring, measuring,
collaborating and driving implementation of the template within a
• Give thorough attention to stakeholder engagement and
• Stimulate a culture and mindset of learning and innovation (rather
than predict and control)
The same EU funded research identifies cross-cutting sustainability
programs as an area where this approach is particularly relevant. The
selection criteria for tools to support this approach are in Appendix 1
The meshworking support service is in use in the Ministry VROM and also
the Dutch private sector collaborative sustainability network “Leaders for
3. A practical approach
A meshwork approach facilitates self-organisation, using the ‘wisdom of
the crowd’ to find the simple projects, knowledge and communities of
practice to achieve a complex task. A complex multi-stakeholder project
is translated into an appropriate hierarchy of pillars (areas for
collaboration) and conditions (which must be met to achieve success). In
the case of a cross-cutting sustainability program, these pillars are likely
to be the cross-cutting sustainability projects which make up the program.
A meshwork support process works from the core purpose (eg
sustainability), identifying pillars to support that purpose, conditions that
need to be in place for a pillar to be strong, action that puts those
conditions in place, and best practices that can formulate action in other
parts of an organisation.
In simple terms, this approach gets every person and participating
organisation ‘on the same page’ understanding where they fit and their
MIDIR European Union Research Project Contract n° 036708: Integration of Concept in
Real Risk Management Settings in Various Cultures – Online tools for developing
sustainability and resilience
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 5
role in a larger functional whole. Each person is motivated by the
program goal and understands where they fit in the larger program and
where they can find the people, knowledge and resources to achieve
When this template is made explicit, it is possible to easily link individual
actions to conditions supporting the projects within the program. It is also
possible to find best practices that are directly relevant to the specific area
that anyone is working on.
4. Meshwork Elements Reducing Cost Time and Risk
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 6
Meshwork Element Reduces cost, time loss and risk
An online technology platform that Without this, valuable time is
combines performance management, lost, the organisation and
knowledge exchange and a administration overhead is
collaboration platform. excessive and energy and
motivation are likely to dissipate.
Facilitated meetings designed to Without this program participants
generate the content of the waste time finding the knowledge
programme, as well as ownership of they need and end up repeating
that content. mistakes or ‘re-inventing the
Training modules to promote a Without this, historic cultures and
mindset and culture of learning and organisational boundaries limit
innovation that engages the online participation, progress and
technology as an enabler. results.
Peer-to-Peer mentoring supported by Without this synergies and peer
the visibility of the maturity of learning opportunities remain
different parts of an organisation in unexploited, capacity building is
their development. slow and results are delayed.
5. Online Technology Platform
With over a decade of experience in strategy formulation and
implementation in global multinationals and governments, Gaiasoft has
developed an online environment to support the end-to-end lifecycle of a
meshwork, from formulation of purpose, through collaboration,
implementation and governance. The platform is fully and uniquely
compliant with the selection criteria published by the EU MIDIR best
practice research project and set out in Appendix 1 to this paper.
Gaiasoft’s patented4 platform links between (performance, transformation
and cultural) indicators, emerging best practice solutions and communities
of practice. The platform uniquely enables members of a meshwork to:
• Connect people and knowledge with focus and precision
• Eliminate re-inventing the wheel and repetition of costly mistakes
• Rapidly scale what works
• Make explicit the core areas of work and the level of progress in
Patents relating, among other things to the linking of knowledge and solutions to a measurement
structure. Pending patents in US, Europe, India, China, Brazil, Japan and South Africa.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 7
• Benchmark progress in the different areas of work across different
parts of an organisation
• Identify peers from different parts of an organisation who are a step
ahead and can mentor you in your current phase of development
• Share and find best practices specific to people’s contexts and
6. Examples of software platform
Leaders for Nature
In the Leaders for Nature Meshwork, the program areas or ‘pillars’ are
Water, Land Use, Energy Use, etc. There is a community of practice for
each of these pillars.
This meshwork screen shows people in the Netherlands in the Energy Sector
working on Energy Use in different roles (Business, Government, NGO, Scientist,
Entrepreneurs, Media) and also best practices related to the same criteria.
Sustainable Resilient Cities
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 8
The scorecard below is developed from London Climate Change Agency’s
program management knowledge. It shows the monthly progress of a
city sustainability program consisting of program areas and projects. (The
scorecard shows demonstration data only.)
The dark blue lines are
program areas including
City, Transport, Buildings,
Industry, Energy etc. The
traffic light cells show the
monthly progress of
individual projects for the
The ‘cloud’ symbol to the
left of a project name is
used to access the best
practice solutions or
available for that project.
The green arrow to the
left of each project name
is used to access the
actions outstanding for
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 9
The scorecard below shows how the progress can be compared across
different cities to facilitate benchmarking and peer-learning.
7. Facilitated Meetings
Critical to the success of a Meshwork initiative is the way in which people
work together to achieve progress. In particular, how person-to-person,
person-to-program and the human-technology interface are facilitated. In
many situations, performance management systems are used to check
how well people are meeting targets set by management, and then
rewarding or punishing people based on that data. Program trust and
commitment are replaced by compliance and people avoid risks at the
expense of program results. In a program without commitment or trust
people avoid reporting facts, measures are unrealistic and there is limited
accountability. In an environment of trust and commitment, valuable
learnings from mistakes and limitations are used as a source of
Meshwork meetings create an atmosphere of shared purpose, of
openness, of willingness to learn and creativity focussed on results. This
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 10
generates individual accountability and commitment to action and
collective ownership of the work.
Various facilitation tools can be used to develop
effective program meshwork meetings. The U
Process is used increasingly within the Dutch
Government. CHE has long-term proven
experience using the U process to facilitate
work in Dutch Government and private sector
to move rapidly and dependably from a
situation of complexity and challenge to clarity
of purpose and aligned commitment to action.
Facilitated Meetings are used by the program
meshwork team to build cross-organisational
communities of practice around projects, as
well as to the strategic co-ordination teams
8. Training Modules
The purpose of program Meshwork support is to build internal capacity to
achieve the meshwork goals. Once the meshwork has been designed –
identifying in this case ministries and projects, a matrix of communities of
practice is developed. Program and project champions are identified
within the organisation and their capacity for leadership and facilitation is
developed. As external consultants build internal capacity, their time is
increasingly leveraged and cost effective. The capacity building lifecycle
moves from external consultant-facilitation to facilitation by a certified
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 11
To support this life-cycle, a number of training modules are offered to
internal staff. They include:
• Learning how to set up, maintain and develop the technology
• Learning how to facilitate communities of practice and review
meetings for learning and innovation
• Learning how to integrate people, culture and technology in
transitions to sustainability
• Learning how to get the most out of your colleagues in peer-to-peer
The certification course “Meshworking for Results5” covers design,
meshwork development, facilitation and technology-supported
meshwork configuration. The training course is supported by an action
learning curriculum which includes worked examples, apprenticing, on
the job experience and mentoring.
1. Peer-to-Peer Mentoring
One of the benefits of the technology platform is that it allows each
person and community of practice to see how far developed different parts
of an organisation are in different areas of sustainability. This means that
a team member can quickly identify which ministry is one or more steps
ahead of others and can act as peer mentors to their colleagues,
increasing knowledge sharing and the speed of innovation.
The Program Meshwork Team and Meshwork Support Team use the
technology platform to overview meshwork development and to identify
where strategic connections should be made and where there are peer
learning opportunities. Scheduled or ad-hoc meetings are coordinated to
stimulate and maximise the rate of peer learning.
Addresses strategic planning, program management and collaboration from a meshwork
perspective. Required of consultants working with the Gaiasoft platform.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 12
9. Meshwork Development Roadmap
Steps 1-7 explain the process used for “Program Meshwork Support” in the table on the next page.
The steps assume a sustainability program being implemented across multiple ministries. The same
principle applies to government agencies, local governments and public-private partnerships for
The starting point is for a group to align on and commit to a goal, in this case, for example,
government as a leader in sustainability. This step requires engaging deep human commitment. This
will happens for example, when it becomes clear that the goal is achievable through commitment
and collaboration. The meshwork support process is designed to demonstrate and presence the
possibility and achievability of the program goal and its value as a replicable success, for example by
The second step is to develop a shared story of how the committed goal can be achieved.
This can be done by example and by facilitating development of a shared story by the program team.
The third step is to develop a template consisting of pillars, conditions, success stories which in
this case are the program projects. This builds ownership of the program and develops a shared
framework and template around which different stakeholders can collaborate to achieve the goal.
The fourth uses the template to define a monitoring and evaluation system.
In this case, breaking the program into projects which can be colour-coded using maturity models and
progress tracked over time.
The fifth step is development of collaborative communities of practice based on ministries and
This is typically achieved through a facilitated meeting, when participants are asked to place their
photos and other information alongside their ministry and later underneath the particular project of
the program template on which they focus. The resulting wall display of a meshwork – of project
names along the top and ministry names down the side, with participant’s faces placed on the wall,
is referred to as a Meshwall™. The same visual meshwork display is also presented within the
Gaiaspace meshwork software at the end of the conference. This building of ministry and project-
based communities of practice is an ongoing process which accelerates progress towards program
The sixth step supports communities of practice across ministries to deliver projects in ministries.
The seventh step trains and supports internal consultants to facilitate and scale implementation.
These final two steps relate to scaling a program template and solutions across ministries to achieve
the overall program goal.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 13
In initial conversations, the Program Manager for Cross-Ministry
Sustainability identified six key criteria to enable him to implement the
program more effectively. The table below lists those criteria and
illustrates how Meshwork Program support meets the criteria:
Criteria for Program Support Program Meshwork Support
An overview of activities and The scorecard provides a traffic-
progress light summary of program
measures, progress indicators and
Identification and sharing of best Knowledge and best practices are
practices linked directly to the measures they
relate to for immediate access
Connecting people to people where People are automatically connected
effective by project, ministry and role
Supporting a culture of innovation Meshwork facilitation and practical
and learning tools ensure feedback and learning
Knowledge sharing relevant to Meshwork delivers precisely
specific contexts and needs relevant knowledge
Hybrid function to bridge internal Meshwork brings together internal
firewall and external people and knowledge
The Program Meshwork Support meets the specific Criteria for Program
Support listed above. Global best practice from the EU MIDIR research
project clearly indicates the need for integrated program management for
sustainability. The solution outlined in this paper is uniquely and fully
compliant with EU MIDIR project selection criteria set out in Appendix 1.
Meshworking is an integrated approach that is in use in Dutch
Government (Ministry VROM) and cross-sector sustainability projects
(Leaders for Nature) today. Meshworking is uniquely suitable for cross-
cutting sustainability programs. Meshworking enables effective
identification, sharing and implementation of solutions to the complex
challenges of achieving sustainability. Meshworking requires technology
support which connects people, performance and knowledge within the
framework of the meshwork. CHE and Gaiasoft are uniquely experienced
in supporting program meshworks through CHE’s extensive facilitation and
consulting experience and Gaiasoft’s proven and patented technology
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 15
CHE and Gaiasoft offer a program meshwork support solution to reduce
the cost, time and risk of implementing cross-cutting sustainability
programs. The meshwork approach works across organisation boundaries
even when solutions are not fully defined, bringing the rigour of program
management to the challenges of implementing cross-cutting
For more information, contact:
Center for Human Emergence
Peter Merry; firstname.lastname@example.org; +31 (0)61 355 4129
Morel Fourman; email@example.com; +44 (0)207 387 1745
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 16
Appendix 1: Selection Criteria for software to support MIDIR
“...the MIDIR methodology provides a solution to the rapid, scalable
transformation of complex systems through knowledge sharing and
learning. The approach applies directly to collaboration for climate
change response, implementation of resilience and sustainable
development. Figure 4.1 above depicts a generic end-to-end
process from goal to governance system.
To facilitate the implementation of the end to end process described
above, an integrated technology platform is required to support
accountability, measurement of performance, transformation and
culture, management of actions, capturing related knowledge of
Positive Proof Points as a reusable template or pattern library.
These templates must be implementable as a governance and
management system at multiple levels of organisation or
governance, for example national, provincial and local.
To facilitate the collaboration across functions and organisations,
lenses are required allowing different stakeholder groups to
understand through the perspectives of others. Finally the same
collaboration platform must be securely, shareable between
different stakeholders across boundaries of organisation and
function, allowing different groups to receive the information they
need, but only what they are entitled to. The suitability of a
software tool or platform to support this approach can be assessed
using the requirements in Figure 6.1 “Selection Criteria for software
to support large-scale learning and implementation.”
In comparing and selecting tools, a prospective solution can be
for each of the requirements in the table below using a maturity
Below is Figure 6.1 Selection Criteria for software to support large-scale
learning and implementation from MIDIR Report 2.4.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 17
Requirement Why it’s important R Y G
1. Accountability Accountability provides the basis for maintaining standards,
driving improvement and change.
2. Measuring Measurement provides the basis for accountability.
performance Performance measures indicate whether a process is
delivering. Performance measures are most relevant to a
stable organisation. Where structural and cultural
transformation is required, the key accountability of leaders
may be for transformation and for culture and values.
3. Measuring Transformation of an organisation depends on many projects
transformation and changes – structures, processes, systems. The
management system must be able to measure the
transformation of structures, processes and systems.
4. Measuring culture Transformation of organisations depends on culture, on trust,
on collaboration. The management system must be able to
measure the culture of the organisation as it is and the gap
between current culture and desired culture.
5. Action management Action management is the driver of results and the engine of
continuous improvement (through the plan-do-check-act
cycle of quality management).
6. Knowledge: Knowledge is organised according to the measure it impacts,
Challenges, Solutions the 80/20 challenges which must be met to perform in that
& Case Stories measure and the 80/20 solutions, supported by case studies.ii
7. Reusable templates Reusable templates consist of measures, knowledge and
action learning resources which are used to drive change
through a performance management process.
8. Fractal – multiple Reusable templates appropriate to different types and levels
levels – National; of organisation, for example business and government at
Provincial; Local national, provincial and local levels. Management and
knowledge management systems enable collaboration and
learning between types and levels of organisation. This is a
requirement due to the increasing interdependency between
different sectors and organisation types.
9. Lenses – multiple Different stakeholders have different perspectives on the
views for different transition – for example, financial, environmental, compliance
stakeholders and regulatory.
10. Interagency / multi Different stakeholders and supply chain partners require
stakeholder – lenses, confidential subsets of shared information to allow
filters, content optimisation and tuning of performance, for example across a
network of government agencies or businesses in a supply
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 18
Meshwork as it relates to a social process is a trademark of CHE Netherlands on behalf of CHE Global. Meshwork as
it relates to collaboration, performance management or knowledge management software is a trademark of Gaiasoft
80/20 Challenges refer to the small number of key challenges which are barriers to performance.
80/20 solutions refer to the small number of key solutions that address each challenge. Case studies
refer to the positive proof points which demonstrate solutions.
Copyright (c) 2009, CHE and Gaiasoft International Ltd. International Patents Pending. All Rights Reserved. 19