We are Visible Network Labs. This is our story.
Our story begins more than a decade ago with our CEO and Founder, Dr. Danielle Varda. After spending three years as a policy scientist at the RAND Corporation, Dr. Varda spent the last 11 years at the University of Colorado Denver as a tenured professor in the School of Public Affairs, researching the impacts of social networks on health and well-being outcomes. She built a team and founded the Center on Network Science. The team built and scaled an organizational network analysis survey tool called PARTNER. It has since been used by over 2,500 customers across 40 countries and all 50 states. But the team was just getting started.
Dr. Varda started to further explored her options for scaling PARTNER to reach more people and make a bigger impact. Driven by a mission to build capacity for transformative collaborative innovation, she decided to launch a social enterprise to best reach these goals. Following her participation in the Boomtown Accelerator program in Boulder, Colorado, Dr. Varda founded Visible Network Labs on March 16, 2021.
With significant momentum from PARTNER, our Network Leadership Training Academy, and strong partnerships with dozens of social change agents around the country, Visible Network Labs continued to innovate around our tools, training and services. We crystalized our PARTNER Method, a five-step process for creating, tracking and adapting strategies to drive network impact. We create a new tool, PARTNERme, to facilitate personal-level network analysis in healthcare and clinical settings to improve health and well-being. In the Fall of 2020, we took first place at the Prime Health Innovation Challenge for this new tool which is launching in four major pilot projects in 2021.
What Drives Our Team?
We are on a mission to build the largest, most complete technology platform and services to build capacity to make visible the ways in which people are connected to other people, organizations are connected to each other, and how people are connected to those organizations and resources – and make that available for social good. We make that available in a public facing Social Connectedness platform that is available for anyone to access, search through, and support their own personal and organizational efforts to support the well-being and health of our communities and the people in them. We call that platform PARTNER. We are not starting from scratch. Over 15 years, we have offered tools for people to use to collect data to fill up that database. Unless they opted out, it has all come together into one big database of people, resources, and the connectivity among them.
We know that is ambitious but are committed. Why? Because we know that if we can provide this visibility on how people and things are connected, and provide people the tools to keep that information dynamic and updated, we can leverage that information to strengthen social connectedness in world where we could all benefit. No one is immune from feeling lonely, sometimes disconnected, and lost at knowing how to get the help we need. If we can make the invisible network of connections of people and things visible, imagine what we could do together? If we all agreed to put that information into one place, in a commons, and we could all support access to it, leveraging the diverse resources we can bring to bear, we can use that information to make things better for people.
Social connectedness is determinant of health, well-being, education, mental health outcomes, and self-resiliency outcomes. To strengthen social connectedness in society, we all need to ask ourselves, “What is my call to action?” At VNL, we believe we all can contribute to this work, and we believe that we have found our call to action. We are smart in Network Science and organizing complex datasets, but we also have created innovative ways for people to collect that kind of data, and most importantly we are not bad at helping people translate complex data into information they can really use. Our goal is to build capacity, community-wide, at using these kinds of data to build stronger social connectedness among people, organizations, and things. We’re not perfect at these things, but we are obsessed with getting better at it.