We use the word network often to refer to many different features of our modern world. For the effort related to Flood-MAR, the term network means something specific from within management and social science contexts. The Flood-MAR Research Advisory Committee was exposed to the work of Paul Vandeventer and Myrna Mandell, who co-wrote the book “Networks that Work”, published by Community Partners in Los Angeles in 2017. The material below, taken from pages 17-18, is a good encapsulation of how the term Network is being used in the Flood-MAR efforts:
A working definition:
· What: many different organizations working in concert
· Who: organizations, institutions, governmental agencies, corporations, foundations, etc.
· Why: to peruse a common, defined purpose
· How: as equal partners
Networks form when knowledgeable people conceded that the scale and complexity of a societal problem exceeds any single organization’s capacity to tackle it alone. Savvy, practical leaders recognize that many organizations working jointly to address a large problem may also make their independent work easier to accomplish.
Members in some networks, such as in membership associations that gather individual groups operating in the same field, may simply have the purpose of improving information sharing among practitioners and spreading best practices. Other networks build power and impact through their collective size and strength, coordinating service delivery or joining forces to advance legislative and public policy changes. Networks can bring greater scale and focus, more productive kinds of working relationships and more lasting effectiveness to addressing public problems.