Today is a special day! After four years of research and writing, today our book becomes available to the world: Impact Networks: Create Connection, Spark Collaboration, and Catalyze Systemic Change, written by David Ehrlichman and published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Find it wherever books are sold in print, as an audiobook, and as an ebook.
In this book we draw on our experiences as network builders; interviews with 40+ incredible 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. Our greatest hope is that the concepts, stories, quotes, and resources contained in it will support you and your work to create a positive impact in this world.
Along with the book we've also released a collection of free resources and tools, offered under a Creative Commons license, as well as a selection of network leadership learning opportunities. You can find them on our new website at converge.net.
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. 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.
Impact Networks aims to illuminate the intricacies of how we can be more effective together amid the immense complexity of our world. It is for all those who recognize the need to work together more than ever before, for those who are addressing issues bigger than any individual or organization can solve on its own, and for changemakers who are looking for ways to collaborate across a diversity of stakeholders to navigate the wicked challenges of our time. It is also for anyone who is curious about, participating in, or leading collaborative networks, including those who coordinate, weave, and facilitate networks; those who fund and support networks; and all those who work in collaboration with others to get things done. If you are supporting or working with a constellation of actors to address complex issues and advance common goals, this book is for you.
Sometimes, the actions of what seems like an incredibly complex system can actually be explained by a few simple rules.
In our globally connected and interdependent society, it is imperative that we understand the network dynamics that influence our lives so that we can create new networks to foster a more resilient and equitable world.