At regional level

CLEA’s Questions Without Easy Answers sessions support committees of management think and learn as peers. They become nodes of learning.

 

But what about day-to-day peer connections?  Landcare knowledge moves through a web of social networks. Each of us has our own networks, but what do we do when we want to find new people? We need someone to answer a technical question, or give us feedback on an idea, but we don’t know quite where to start. We go to someone who has pretty good networks and might know someone who can help. We call that person a Network Weaver (and thanks to June Holley for the name).

 

Network Weavers put time into building up their personal networks, and they are happy to listen to what other people need and then share their contacts. They keep knowledge moving and support flowing through the grassroots.

 

CLEA looked into what keeps knowledge moving and support flowing in Landcare, and one of our answers was Network Weavers. Read the full report (at right), and here are the main ideas.

12 things Network Weavers do

 

  • Network Weavers know their local networks

  • Network Weavers go hunting for new connections

  • Network Weavers are powered by big ideas

  • Network Weavers look for technical skills & people skills

  • Network Weavers put building relationships first

  • Network Weavers give generously

  • Network Weavers ask for what they want

  • Network Weavers use their organisational base

  • Network Weavers keep in touch using the right medium

  • Network Weavers make time to talk face-to-face

  • Network Weavers follow up

  • Network Weavers have good systems

 

Five ways to strengthen regional networks

 

  1. Understand and support the Network Weavers. Who are the Network Weavers? How they do what they do? What support do they need? How can their skills be passed on to others?

  2. Create forums where people meet face-to-face. There are plenty of meetings, but a forum is a place where people can talk face-to-face about their own issues, raise their own questions and talk through what works, what doesn't, and why.

  3. Profile the innovators behind the innovations. There are many local group and Network newsletters, with news and technical information, but we need more stories about the people behind innovations, to inspire us all to keep going.

  4. A website to document for what works in Landcare. The web has opened so many doors, it's difficult to find what's relevant. What if people in Landcare put forward what they know works in Landcare, and gave the link to where to find more? That is the idea behind the Landcare Share Centre, which is gathering gems from the Landcare community—people, ideas and resources that demonstrated effectiveness.

  5. Develop skills in getting our stories out there. Newsletters, websites, email lists: the www and software has made life simultaneously easier and more difficult. The volume of information has increased by orders of magnitude and people's expectations are much higher. To get the right mix of channels and put out the stories that make information meaningful, we need to keep skilling from the local committee level outwards.