We’ve learned that the collective intelligence of the individuals in a network can provide invaluable insights about the needs and opportunities within an ecosystem and about how “networked innovators” can gather knowledge and seed support networks to tackle social challenges. Below, we have listed five recommended steps to get started as networked innovators to convene experts in your ecosystem.
Step 1 Identify the issue you or your organization seeks to address – clearly define the questions that you need answered in order to move forward toward solution creation. Base your agenda on these questions.
Step 2 Assess your network, as well as individuals that may be a degree or two removed, for thought leaders and practitioners. Determine which members are closely tied to the issue at hand and invite them. Reminders are helpful. Share the agenda you created. Note: You may also consider inviting individuals that are directly affected by the issue or part of the beneficiary group.
Step 3 A group of 10 individuals (or less) can generate robust and in-depth conversation. Identify a venue, such as an office, or other co-working space. Be sure to provide refreshments and a meal—once the discussions begin, they can last quite a while! And when appropriate, provide a transportation stipend.
Step 4 On the day of, clearly identify roles. A facilitator and a note taker are a must. So is logistics support for any technology involved.
Step 5 Carefully review the knowledge you gained, draw key conclusions, and consider how you can best apply them to your work. You now have a set of potential partners and supporters who also care about the issue that you are solving.
Interested in learning more about Networked Innovators? Visit www.rockefellerfoundation.org/catalytic-network to sign up to access tools and stories, and share them for the opportunity to collaborate with the Rockefeller Foundation staff.
An excerpt from The Rockefeller Foundation blog, written by Context Partners staff, Tyler Ahn and Michelle Paison