Networks as amplifiers of social impact

Dynamic networks are amplifier strategies that enable social innovators to achieve two vital objectives: scale and impact. DGMT supports a number of initiatives that use strategies to mobilise large, ever-growing networks of people.

A social network is a connected group of people who interact in different ways to inform, influence and mutually benefit each other. According to the Harvard Business School, helpful networks are built on the concepts of trust, reciprocity, and value[1].

Trust, which usually stems from shared experience, gives rise to goodwill and therefore underpins a network. Reciprocity means there is an underlying, unspoken understanding that network members will take turns to assist each other. And lastly, because connections are valuable, members will generally act to preserve relationships.

Such networks can successfully be harnessed to aid social development initiatives because the ongoing exchange of knowledge, skills and goods within the network creates an ever-growing communication channel for messages or ideas, while members can motivate and support each other to take action towards certain outcomes. What is more, each new member of the network might add several more connection points to the network because they have their own contacts; as a result, the network can grow quickly and exponentially by adding new members. Each new connection point also brings various types of capital (e.g. resources, skills, knowledge, etc.) that can benefit the cause.

Download the Networks learning brief here or page through it in ISSUU below – choose full-screen mode [   ] for a better reading experience.  You can download the full Hands-on Learning publication (Issue 14) here.

References:

[1]Lagace, M. 2005. Nonprofit Networking: The New Way To Grow. Working Knowledge. Harvard Business School, 16 May 2005. Available at: https://hbswk. hbs.edu/item/nonprofit-networking-the-new-way-to-grow