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 and that of the Converge network; 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.
David Ehrlichman is a catalyst and coordinator of Converge. With his colleagues, he has supported the development of dozens of impact networks in a variety of fields, and has worked as a network coordinator for the Santa Cruz Mountains Stewardship Network, Sterling Network NYC, and the Fresno New Leadership Network. He speaks and writes frequently on networks, finds serenity in music, and is completely mesmerized by his newborn daughter.
You can find him on Medium, Twitter, LinkedIn, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.