What happens after a vibrant network forms?
Networks are dynamic, living realities, in constant evolution. From its inception through its unfoldment, every network forges its own path, partly predictable, partly unexpected. A cross section of the SDGs Scotland Network gathered in Edinburgh to explore the network’s shared meaning and vision. The purpose of the meeting was presented by the organisers:
‘This workshop will help us to better understand and plan for how we maintain momentum, build on what’s been set up and bring in some new ways of working that provide ownership, shared responsibility and inclusive space to ensure we’re as prepared and agile as possible.’
Networks tend to have fluid membership; people move in and out of them based on how much they personally benefit from participating. Having a common vision informed by shared principles is one of the most important elements to promote network cohesion. Based in the experience of the network of 280 members, participants mapped a whole constellation of principles such as transparency, openness, grounding, inclusiveness which has been informing so far the multiple exchanges.
After many rounds of visioning dialogues participants came up with a series of definitions aimed to be accessible to those interested in joining the network and as a source of permanent motivation for existing members. In the open government fashion and recognising that visioning is an ongoing process of focusing intention with no end, the ideas will be now put online for further discussion.
The second movement of the workshop reflected on how to strengthen the vitality and viability of the Scotland’s SDG Network by anchoring the experience of communities of practice within the network. Following natural systems patterns by avoiding the creation of a ‘super organisation’; and relating with all those who are working for or in contrast to the SDGs were some of the insights generated collectively.
The workshop provided a space to reflect and unite the diversity of the SDG Scotland community in a shared purpose. Communicating this clearly will make it easier for new potential members to decide whether they might be interested in joining. It was a step in the journey towards making the SDGs an agenda owned by all, in Scotland and in the world.