Change•mak•ing Net•work (n)
► a network comprised of interdependent communities,
united by a shared vision and set of values, which has
harnessed changemaking network effects to outpace and
outsmart systemic social problems.
In the first network effects playbook for social entrepreneurs, Ashoka Board Member, Sushmita Ghosh, presents the five core principles and accompanying strategies for harnessing changemaking network effects. Sushmita distilled these conclusions from extensive interviews with Ashoka Fellows who have pioneered global Changemaking Networks. These networks have successfully orchestrated the coming together of several systems, their players, and concerned citizens to serve positive social change goals—such as “Zero Homelessness,” “Health Care Without Harm,” and “Holding Power to Account”—harnessing changemaking network effects.
Ashoka is delighted to share a must-read for every social sector organization, company, funding agency, student, or concerned citizen who cares about a new way of organizing mass changemaking to outsmart and outpace the world’s biggest problems.
Written for action-takers, it leaves every reader with a clear sense about how to get started on building Changemaking Networks. Today.
~ Sushmita Ghosh
The Five Principles of Changemaking Networks
What happens if these five principles are accomplished by Changemaking Networks?
They become gamechangers for all of society, not just the game each of them is ostensibly focused on.
They re-engineer social systems, evolve how members view their own core identities, and expand their impact beyond the networks and the systems they touch directly, to embrace all of society, changing prevailing social biases.
1. Change the whole game and become its biggest draw
STRATEGY: orchestrate an ecosystem to implement a shared vision of a solution that fits the scale of the problem
After assembling an ecosystem that can accommodate the vastness and complexity of a systemic problem, a Changemaking Network sparks and enables interactions between systems that are best done—and very likely can only be done—through the network.
2. Values, not rules, inform the playbook
STRATEGY: wire your network with shared values, don’t dictate them
A Changemaking Network needs to live certain values that support its game-changing vision down to the last member. This can’t be done through top-down dictation, but by everyone in the network owning these values.
3. Make it easy for everyone to play
STRATEGY: democratize changemaking by engaging all who care
A Changemaking Network provides both the foundation and the stairs to unleash the changemaking potential of all—not just the select few who have already given themselves permission to lead.
4. It’s got to be fun
STRATEGY: create a pathway from engagement to fulfillment
A Changemaking Network needs to help members experience a thrilling expansion of capacity and impact. So, it provides ladders of achievement and recognition for members, which help them evolve their ability to collaborate and innovate, celebrating every small victory.
5. Keep score
STRATEGY: open up network data to stay ahead in the game
Shared measurement of progress generates real-time collective learning for the network. And an open community scoreboard—which keeps track of community learning and of who’s ahead in the game—provides the gamesmanship and dynamic knowledge required in urgent mass changemaking.
~ Sushmita Ghosh