Building Networks

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 273

Words: 3904

Pages: 16

Category: Science and Technology

Date Submitted: 09/11/2012 01:04 PM

Report This Essay

Building Sustainable Communities through Network Building by Valdis Krebs and June Holley

Communities are built on connections. Better connections usually provide better opportunities. But, what are better connections, and how do they lead to more effective and productive communities? How do we build connected communities that create, or take advantage of, opportunities in their region or marketplace? How does success emerge from the complex interactions within and between communities?

This paper investigates building sustainable communities through improving their interactions – internally and externally – using network ties to create economic opportunities. Improved connectivity is created through an iterative process of knowing the network and knitting the network. Improved connectivity starts with a map – knowing the complex human system you are embedded in.

Know the Net The Appalachian Center for Economic Networks [ACEnet], a regional economic development organization in Athens, Ohio has long followed the connectivity mantra – create effective networks for individual, group and regional growth and vitality. Recently ACEnet has begun to map and measure the emergent social and economic connections in the grassroots food industry in this region of Appalachia.

Network maps provide a revealing snapshot of a business ecosystem at a particular point in time. These maps can help answer many key questions in the community building process.

• • • • • • •

Who are playing leadership roles in the community? Who is not, but should be? Are communities of interest developing around key regional and economic issues? Who are the experts in the area? Who are the mentors that others seek out for advice? Who are the innovators? Are ideas shared and acted upon? Are collaborative projects forming between local businesses? Which businesses will provide a better return on investment – both for themselves and the community they are embedded in?

Are the right...