Impact Networks : A Transformational Approach to Creating Connection, Sparking Collaboration, and Catalyzing Systemic Change
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The social and environmental challenges we face today are not only complex, they are also systemic and structural and have no obvious solutions. They require diverse combinations of people, organizations, and sectors to coordinate actions and work together even when the way forward is unclear. Even so, collaborative efforts often fail because they attempt to navigate complexity with traditional strategic plans, created by hierarchies that ignore the way people naturally connect.
By embracing a living-systems approach to organizing, impact networks bring people together to build relationships across boundaries; leverage the existing work, skills, and motivations of the group; and make progress amid unpredictable and ever-changing conditions. As a powerful and flexible organizing system that can span regions, organizations, and silos of all kinds, impact networks underlie some of the most impressive and large-scale efforts to create change across the globe.
David Ehrlichman draws on his experience as a network builder; interviews with dozens of network leaders; and insights from the fields of network science, community building, and systems thinking to provide a clear process for creating and developing impact networks. Given the increasing complexity of our society and the issues we face, our ability to form, grow, and work through networks has never been more essential.
- Paperback | 216 pages
- 139 x 216 x 17.78mm | 408.23g
- 12 Oct 2021
- Berrett-Koehler Publishers
- United States
--June Holley, researcher and writer, Network Weaving Institute
"Networks are the organizing system of the future, and this book is your guide. If you're a foundation leader or philanthropist, it will transform the way you approach your work."
--Philip Li, President and CEO, Robert Sterling Clark Foundation
"This is the book systems change practitioners have been waiting for: comprehensive, clear, concise, compelling, and eminently actionable. It is a case study in the art of network weaving. Ehrlichman brings together an impressively diverse range of sources and weaves their insights into an inspiring set of tools for transformation. His gift for language makes complex topics seem intuitive--I found myself reading eagerly, already imagining how I might put his principles into practice. I wish this book had existed when I first stumbled into network weaving: it's a beautiful and generous distillation of existing best practices, informed by Ehrlichman's own deep process and commitment. It's a gift."
--Brian Stout, curator and network weaver, Building Belonging
"David Ehrlichman has written a clear, passionate, and very useful book about networks. I have devoted my professional life to the development of networks among leaders of the social movements that define our time, and in this book, we have a tool that brings everything together."
--Gibrán Rivera, master facilitator
"This book beautifully illustrates how networks can catalyze and support transformational change. I found it to be a clarion call to appreciate the power of networks and to be more intentional with the networks I am involved in."
--Courtney Pineau, Senior Director of Climate and Agriculture Networks, Green America
"This book is an engaging invitation to action that inspires us to roll up our sleeves and collaborate. Drawing on a profound range of personal experience, learning, and deep thinking, David Ehrlichman makes a compelling case for impact networks as an effective, sustainable and scalable way to spark and steward social change."
--Liz Wilson, Senior Executive, Small Foundation
"This century will be defined by whether we tap into our hive mind and build the networks we need to solve problems together. Impact Networks is an essential guide for how to do both."
--Talia Milgrom-Elcott, founder and Executive Director at 100Kin10 and Starfish Institute
"This book should be required reading for all new paradigm leaders and change agents. As our society becomes increasingly complex and chaotic, leaders who do not practice what this book teaches will doom themselves to the dustbin of history. It is only through networks, and the forward-thinking leaders who form and steward them, that humanity will address the challenges that face us."
--Tim Kelley, global change agent and author of True Purpose
"Human survival and thriving, including health, justice, and learning, depend in large part upon critical connections and flows. The call of our time is then about deftly (and humbly) working with our interconnected reality. By offering real and inspiring examples, useful concepts and frameworks, and the encouragement to engage with complexity and messiness for the sake of a more promising future, David Ehrlichman's gift helps readers better sense and act in networked ways."
--Curtis Ogden, Senior Associate, Interaction Institute for Social Change
"These actionable insights on fostering collaboration couldn't be more timely--more than ever, we see the need to better understand networks as forces for social change in a hyperconnected yet siloed world. We have seen firsthand the power of these approaches from working with David and the Converge network to develop boundary-bridging work with science, diverse communities, and philanthropy. This book offers a rich source of ideas and inspiration to strengthen the network relationships at the heart of our work and to help deepen our collective impact."
--Elizabeth G. Christopherson, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rita Allen Foundation
"Impact Networks brings clarity to the rapidly emerging landscape of how civil society can find synergy and create impact today. Ehrlichman draws upon years of experience as a network leader and his deep relationships in the field to give us a clear blueprint for how to understand, create and support the collaboration we crave."
--Marty Kooistra, Executive Director for the Housing Development Consortium, King County, Washington
"Perhaps the most shocking interruption of white modernity is the idea that we are not alone and never have been. Instead of being Newtonian atoms floating freely in empty space, we are sensuous networks and assemblages of agency and potential. Upon this scandalous idea rests a strange hope--one that is appropriate to our tense times: that we no longer change the world in some mechanistic fashion but instead meet our odd cousins and be transformed in the gasp of encounter. This book is a map to the strangeness of networks. We should all read it."
--Bayo Akomolafe, PhD, author of These Wilds Beyond our Fences, and Chief Curator, The Emergence Network
"To create a future that works for all, it's imperative that we work better together. Making real progress on society's most pressing challenges requires dynamic and agile multisector networks that draw together our shared intelligence, collaborative energy, and collective impact. Impact Networks will plug you in."
--John Mauro, City Manager, City of Port Townsend, Washington
"A must-read for leaders seeking to increase their impact."
--Jane Wei-Skillern, Senior Fellow, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley
"An indispensable guide for network leaders and anyone aspiring to create truly impactful collaborations."
--Sam Bonsey, Executive Director, The ImPact
"An excellent resource for learning about networks and collaboration! A must-read."
--Nand Kishore Chaudhary, founder, Jaipur Rugs
"Impact Networks brings to light the fundamental theory of fields behind networks with purpose and networks for development, which was missing until now. It is a masterpiece that pins down the definition, understanding, and complex framing of impact networks in a practical and far-ranging way that can be implemented without losing emergence."
--Matias Urrutigoity and Hernan Manson, Alliances for Action, International Trade Centre
"As the pace of change continues to accelerate, we need different, scalable network solutions for today's and tomorrow's challenges. It is no longer about what you will do with your organization as a starting point but about how you can align your organization's purpose, actions, and capacity with others in the living, nested systems you are part of. This book is an inspiring and helpful resource for those who want to contribute to and be part of tomorrow's connected ecosystems."
--Michiel Bakker, Vice President of Global Workplace Services Programs, Google
About David Ehrlichman