Strategies and Structures for Research and Policy Networks: Presented to the Canadian Primary Health Care Research Network, 2012 Heather Creech, Director, Global Connectivity
IISD’s Networks Practice • Why we became involved in strategic planning and evaluation of networks and partnerships • The intersection of technology and social organization • Increasing international interest in the role of knowledge and collaborative process as necessary to sustainable development implementation • Evidence and consent • The potential for “networked” governance to address complex problems
Managing complex problems by using networks • Networked governance is… • “not a search for the optimal solution to one problem but an ongoing learning and negotiation process where a high priority is given to questions of communication, perspective sharing, and the development of adaptive group strategies for problem solving” (Pahl-Wostl and Hare, 2004)
Necessary conditions for “networked” governance • Social capital • Social capital has been shown to be related to the capacity of teams to process information, make sense of data and connect it to an empirical context. • Social capital built through • Creation of shared value • Knowledge sharing, learning, exploration and experimentation • Drivers: institutional and individual
Networked governance and the place for research and policy networks • If there is insufficient social capital for a networked approach, there is still a need for research and policy networks to inform active steering and centralized problem solving (Huppé et al, 2012).
Structures for collaboration • The limits of typologies • Formal/informal; focus/extensiveness • Two basic structures • Groups of institutions • Inter-organizational relationships • Driven by institutional mandates and interests • Groups of individuals • Communities of practice, knowledge networks, expert networks • Driven by self interest and/or shared challenges
Some recent lessons • Knowledge sharing and subsidiarity • Recognition of social capital and personal social networks • Shared value creation • Recognizing and mitigating the impact of the 1-9-90 rule • Recognizing and mitigating the impact of “Dunbar’s number” • The role of social network analysis in practical network planning and management • Recognizing adaptive cycles in network evolution
EXPLORATION MATURITY/CONSERVATION New Ideas: Creative * Messy * Uncertain* First-hand insights * Outside ideas* Multiple Perspectives * Flat structure & process * Probes & Little Experiments * Options • Productivity: Efficiency * Certainty * Stability * • Hierarchical structure & process * Clear Tasks, • Rules, Policies & Procedures * Standardization • * Specialists * Fast Returns * Low Risk Tolerance expand possibilities & buy-in conserve new thinking declining ROI place bets manage crisis choice sustain & grow broad direction birth confusion develop & adapt shared vision refine reconnect • Effectiveness: Entrepreneurial * Generalists * • Roles * Adaptive structure and process * • Prototypes & Pilot Projects * Variation * Lag times • Flexible funding * Flexible rules * Tolerance for • Risk * Dead ends * Emerging Practice Vision: Charismatic * Unraveling * Chaotic * Loss, Anger, Blame, Conflict * Little structure or process * Reflection * Relationships * Essence * Values * Principles * New Energy & Urgency CREATIVE DESTRUCTION/RELEASE DEVELOPMENTAL From: Cabaj, M. Network Death & Renewal in the Adaptive Cycle, 2011.
Critical success factors for performance of networks Critical success factors for sustainability of networks • Purpose, focus, roles; shared understanding • Leadership and coordination • Knowledge sharing and communications skills • Understanding short- and long-term needs and outcomes • Organizational capacity and commitment • Monitoring and assessment:Relevance, Effectiveness, Efficiency, Impact and sustainability • Timing • Relevance • Relationships • Resources • [from: Willard & Creech, 2006]
Operating models for sustainability of research networks • Centralized • Hosted, with external support • Hosted, with institutional membership fees • Hosted, with internal, in-kind support for coordination and • Decentralized • National, semi-autonomous, chapters • Professional association model, with membership dues • Virtual model (e.g., through Linked In)
A range of questions for consideration • What is the need? [demand] • Who are the stakeholders/boundary partners/members/constituency? • How to integrate the beneficiaries into knowledge sharing? • What are the special conditions for each region? • What are the major research questions ? • What inputs are available to meet the need? [people and information][supply] • What is the capacity to access/use the inputs to meet the need? • What is the competition? [other sources of inputs to meet the need] • What are the institutional and individual drivers to use the inputs? • What are the enabling conditions and incentives? • What are the institutional barriers to access/use the inputs? • What are the phases and the timeframe? • What coordination is needed?