Monday, April 16, 2012

Connecting Networks - Opening Silos

I spent time this weekend reading part of a report titled Next Generation of Community Revitalization, published by The Bridgespan Group. The report profiled initiatives that are bringing together many different partners in "collective efforts" aimed at solving complex problems.

While the report shows good work being done, the report also talked about "significant risks" and listed six.

These were:

* Funding that is largely short term
* Leaders who are overstretched, with gaps in organizational capacity
* Uneven commitment to resident engagement (community involvement?)
* Unrealistic expectations about how much can be accomplished how soon
* Limited access to what works - or shows promise of working
* Silo-ed thinking

These are issues I've written about often in the past because they are what prevents high-quality volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs from operating in more places and having a greater long-term impact.

I've collected a huge library of articles focused on process improvement, collaboration, knowledge management and innovation, but until more people know about the library and are using it, it has minimal value.

I've also pointed to articles by Vance Stevens and others who are hosting massive on-going learning communities focused on specific topics. I'd like to find partners who would help build a community that focuses on volunteer-based tutoring and/or mentoring program growth in big cities like Chicago.

How do outsiders become "insiders"? How do we get ideas into silos? Who else is talking about this?

I did a webnar with the Webheads group yesterday and one participant pointed me to this site, where there are dozens of concept maps illustrating ideas. Browsing through these takes me to the web site where the map is further explained.

Today I tried to find some links to groups connecting networks. One was the Cumbria Third Sector Initiative which is where I found the graphic used above.

However, my Google search also pointed me to a page full of "images". As I browsed through these the "pictures" of some resonated with me more than others, and as I clicked into those, I found new web sites and organizations working to connect networks.

Now there are literally thousands of graphics that I could search through, and I don't have the time to do that all by myself.

However, there are also thousands of people concerned about the issues that The Bridgespan Group report is focusing on. That means many people could be working together to build a library of organizations that are trying to bring people together and do more to overcome the challenges facing non profits and social entrepreneurs working to solve complex problems.

If you're interested in this, search the graphics yourself. If you find some new organizations connecting networks or trying to break down silos, why not write about them in your own blog and send me a link.

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