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The Promise of Networks: How Social Connections = Social Impact


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Presentation for convening of Kellogg Foundation grantees working to improve the lives of vulnerable children in Michigan state.

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The Promise of Networks: How Social Connections = Social Impact

  1. 1. The Promise of NetworksHow Social Connections = Social ImpactDiana Scearce, Monitor InstituteAugust 23, 2011This work is under the Creative Commons attribution share alike 3.0 imported license<br />
  2. 2. What’s a social network?<br />A group of people connected by relationships<br />
  3. 3. network<br />/ˈnɛtˌwɜrk/<br /><ul><li>adjective: connected, transparent, decentralized
  4. 4. verb: to connect, to spread, to organize into a network
  5. 5. noun: a structural form for organizing </li></li></ul><li>Many promising networks today…<br /><ul><li>Have lots of participants
  6. 6. Give space for self-organization
  7. 7. Are fueled by new technologies</li></li></ul><li>Networks aren’t new<br />
  8. 8. But connectivity is growing dramatically<br />5Bn cell phones (2010)<br />4Bn (2008)<br />3Bn (2007)<br />2Bn (2005)<br />1Bn (2002)<br />
  9. 9. Plus, there are new tools for sharing content<br />…. and new online spaces for connecting people<br />
  10. 10. = a newly dominant form of organizing<br />Source: Adapted from David Ronfeldt, RAND<br />
  11. 11. How can we harnessTHE POWEROF NETWORKSfor social impact?<br />
  12. 12. Reed’s Law<br />The value of networks scales exponentially with the size of the network.<br />Source: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  13. 13. Brooks’s Law<br />Adding people to a complex project makes it take longer.<br />Source: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  14. 14. Network Potential vs. Network Friction <br />Source: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  15. 15. We Want Reed to Win!<br />Source: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  16. 16. Network potential<br />
  17. 17. Design for serendipity<br />“Things that seemed totally impossible not so long ago are now going to happen… In the next few years a new wave of businesses will come in behind us. So many things are possible with collaboration.” <br />
  18. 18. Coordinate diverse resources & action<br />
  19. 19. Network friction<br /><ul><li>It’s hard to “see” the whole system. How do I know what’s needed and what’s working?
  20. 20. It’s time-consuming work. What role(s) should I play?
  21. 21. There are lots of players involved. Where does accountability lie?
  22. 22. It requires spreading control and leadership. What if results are different than original intentions?</li></ul>Source of image: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  23. 23. How can we help Reed win?<br />Source: Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates<br />
  24. 24. It requires a network mindset<br />Traditional Mindset<br />Network Mindset<br />Firmly controlled & planned<br />Strengthening individual efforts<br />Effectiveness = concrete outputs <br />Proprietary information & learning<br />Decision making concentrated in one organization<br />Loosely controlled & emergent<br />Weaving connections & building network-wide capacity<br />Effectiveness includes intangibles <br />Public/open information & learning<br />Decision-making decentralized<br />
  25. 25. How can YOU work with a NETWORK MINDSET?<br />
  26. 26. THANK YOU!<br />Diana Scearce, Monitor<br />