Networks of Networks: A New PARTNER Add-On for Complex Ecosystem Tracking

Networks of Networks

When we first built PARTNER, networked (collaborative) approaches to solving problems was still pretty novel. Fast forward a decade, and the “network way of working” is the new norm. Nonprofits, government agencies, corporations, and small community-based organizations are all actively building strategies that involve building partnerships and leveraging shared connections. Today, we see people trying to understand the “ecosystem” their work is a part of, in order find ways to synchronize all the parts of these systems to produce better workflows and outcomes. 

Our Ecosystem Solution…

This has made work much more complex! And tracking all of this can be overwhelming. In response, Visible Network Labs has worked with our partners at the Veterans Administration to develop a feature in PARTNER that allows the user to track “networks of networks” over time. Tracking one network can be hard, so we took all the complexity of managing an ecosystem of partners out of your hands, and built a feature that lets you collect, map, and analyze complex relationships within your many partnerships – in a super simple way!

So How Does It All Work? 

The add-on feature of Networks of Networks (NoN) lets you easily track all the networks or ecosystems you manage using one master project. In this master project you get a centralized landing screen for all of your networks, as well as master survey and email templates, and the ability to analyze all your networks at once. If you choose to, you can dive into the data and look at your networks or ecosystems comparatively and longitudinally. For example, the Gates Foundation is funding a series of coalitions to share best practices around school improvement innovation. The Networks of Networks Add-On will allow them to compare how each network is sharing insights over time so they can identify what works and rapidly share it collaboratively with their other funded groups.

Read on to see what this feature entails, and how simple it is to use each one.

Master Project Management

The ability to coordinate and track multiple network sites through one master project saves you time and energy that would otherwise have been spent duplicating your work times the number of networks you manage. Now you can set up one master project and link it to multiple subprojects which gives you a way to standardize the settings, attributes, metrics, and schedule so you only have to set it up one time. When you set up your sub-projects you can assign a manager to help track and manage that subproject (they only have access to their subproject and no others). You can choose to upload all members from across all your networks or ecosystems at once through the master project or you can have subproject managers upload their own members lists. 

Networks of Networks Landing Screen

Logging into the master project you see a centralized landing screen with the most up to date status information including response rates across your sub-projects, an aggregate member list showing the latest member activity, as well as, a dashboard of scores, charts and a network map that is constantly updating in a real time as members contribute data. You can easily move between your master project and any of your sub-projects, so you do not have to log in and out of the system for access to a new project. 

Standardize Settings, Attributes, Metrics, and Schedule

Effortlessly choose one of our PARTNER templates to start with or create your own master survey template that will automatically link to your subprojects. Subprojects are not able to edit the master survey, so you are able to standardize your metrics across multiple sites or over time. There is a way to add in variables that you would like to be customized in each subproject. For example, you can add %CommunityName within any question or response field. Then when you log in to a subproject you see a box at the top of the survey form that allows you to add in the customized variable(s).  

Networks of Networks

The same customized variable process is in place for email templates where you can create customized variables such as %CloseDate or %ExtendedDate so you can smoothly manage the data collection process for all sub-projects in one place. You can also establish settings for emails like who will receive a reminder or status update emails through various thresholds. Set the start date for all sub-projects at once or allow subproject managers to set their own email settings and email schedule. 

Analyze Data Comparatively Across Networks

In the master project analyzer, look across your entire ecosystem of partners at once via aggregated charts and graphs, view all networks in one data visualization so you can see how the multiple networks overlap or span across a geographical area. If you choose to, you can dive into the data and look at your partnerships or ecosystems comparatively and longitudinally. Project owners can assign network level attributes which allow you to group or categorize multiple networks by region, topic area, or populations served. You can download a summary of scores export that gives your data, results, and scores across all your networks divided by network level attributes.

Want to Learn More? Get in Touch!

We’d love to show you how the Networks of Networks add-on works and can help you measure and track your ecosystem of partnerships. Send us a message on our contact page, sign up for an upcoming PARTNER Web Demo, or visit our Case Study Library to learn more.

About the Author: Sara Sprong

VP of Strategic Initiatives

Sara helps position VNL and our technology strategically to advance our mission. She was a champion of the roll out and adoption of the PARTNER tool, successfully achieving a customer base in all 50 states and 13 countries. She provides amazing customer service and support while keeping tabs on all the moving parts of the product life cycle. She has deep understanding of the communities who use the products and works tirelessly to coordinate ongoing requests from partners and customers. Sara is an organizational wizard with an expertise in building technology for social impact. Sara is a snowboarder, outdoor enthusiast, and mother to a young growing family.

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