In the face of complex social and ecological issues, such as systemic oppression, climate change, and poverty, single actors are hard pressed to have much impact. Working through networks calls on a specific set of skills and sensibilities that may or may not be present in organizations and communities. This includes leading with building relationships and trust across boundaries (geographic, cultural, disciplines), understanding existing patterns of connection and what these facilitate in terms of outcomes and possibilities, creating space for open conversation and emergent thinking, valuing contributions over formal credentials, and embracing diversity and divergence. In order to build a diverse, distributed, and resilient network capable of tackling complex change, we must attend to creating greater connectivity (trust building, information sharing, learning), alignment (shared identity and value proposition), and collective action (advocacy, education, leveraging new markets and resources, launching new initiatives). Evidence from our experience at IISC, is that as people feel more connected and aligned, the thought of collective action becomes that much more inviting and its potential impact that much greater and longer lasting. Check out these resources if you are interested in exploring the connections between network theory and social change, and let us know if you have additional suggestions!
Research Professor on society, culture, art, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, neuroscience, autopoiesis, self-organization, complexity, systems, networks, rhizomes, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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