Our Method for Designing & Adapting Network Strategy
Our products, services and learning opportunities all draw from our PARTNER Methodology. We start by helping shift mindset to view partnerships and collaboration with a network science lens. We then help design a network strategy and track the network of partners over time using our PARTNER CPRM. This lets us continually adapt our strategy and enact changes to improve our collaborative process and reach our network objectives.
Shift Your Mindset
The first step in the PARTNER Method is a mindset shift to start using a network science perspective. This key re-framing allows you to design a network strategy using a foundation of network science terminology and principles.
The mindset shift can be facilitated in several ways. The easiest is to take our free online course module, “Thinking Like a Network Scientist.” We also provide more in-depth training options, including interactive webinars or in-person facilitated programs.
At the end of this stage, you’ll understand network science terms and ways of thinking and have a foundation to start thinking about your own network’s strategy.
Design Your Strategy
The second step in the PARTNER Method is a process of network strategy design. This involves creating a model of your ‘ideal network,’ and making intentional decisions about the how you will build, manage and evaluate your network in a way that best meets your objectives.
You can learn to design a strategy using our Network Strategy online course module and materials, or work with our team to get personalized support through the process. We also have a number of free blogs and webinars on the topic.
At the end of this stage, you’ll have a plan in terms of how you’ll build and implement your network approach in an intentional, strategic way.
Track Your Strategy
The third step in the PARTNER Method involves tracking your network strategy over time using a community partner relationship manager. Collecting data on how your network is structured, along with its quality and impact, helps you evaluate your progress and shift your strategy when needed.
While you can track your network in a lot of ways, we recommend the PARTNER Platform, created specifically for this task. You can collect data from your network every 6 months to track your progress.
At the end of this stage, you’ll have a network map and data you can use to help review your impact and begin reflecting on your strategy.
Adapt Your Strategy
The fourth step in the PARTNER Method is adapting your network strategy using the insights you discover from tracking your network. This is the key step in which your data is used to improve your plan for building and managing your network.
Adapting your strategy is a process best done through group reflection on your goals, your progress, and the gap between them. In each area of your strategy, consider what the data suggests is working, and what can be improved.
At the end of this stage, you’ll have a list of adaptations to your strategy ready for implementation. This could be a new network structure or type, different goals, memberships policies, activities, or more.
Enact Your New Strategy
The final step in the PARTNER Method involves enacting your adapted network strategy with your partners on the ground. This involves the day-to-day changes you’ll make to build your ideal strategy.
While many networks prefer to implement their strategy themselves, we work with a broad network of coaches and facilitators that can assist in this work, helping you identify the action steps that will shift your network towards your goals.
At the end of this stage, your network will be on step closer to reaching its objectives. The process of tracking, adapting and enacting your strategy then begins again, repeating every 6-12 months.