Last night the Point People hosted an event about networks and systems change.

“The Point People was set up in 2010 because the group of founders wanted to explore how to work as a network, wanted to learn how to have more impact through using their networks, and wanted to build the profile of how important a networked person and mindset is when trying to affect change. Seven years on and we have learned quite a lot. We’ve also had some new people join us and they bring a new set of questions and network geekery to the table.”

Good questions

Over the next two hours Ella and I shared our thoughts, starting with the inspiration for, and history of, the Point People and we listened to how Abby and Victoria had been doing their own versions of that kind of work. We’d all, in different ways and contexts, been “Of The Network.” I use that phrase because I work with people who talk about being “Of The Internet” or an “Internet Person” and somehow being “Of The Network” has made more sense to me. The conversation that night was so exuberant and unfinished that we decided to host an event and see who else might want to join in, with the help of other Point People like Jennie and Cat too.

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Abby’s notebook from our conversation.

A networked mindset?

1) Focusses on the collective outcomes and what is needed to have impact

2) Notices patterns, and understands and sees the connections between things

3) Works with the “Third Entity.”

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The Third Entity is the outer ring, the container.

4) Aware of where power is and cares about creating power together

5) Designs for the collective rather than the individual

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Image by Redmond CC

6. Looks for and sees assets rather than deficits

7. Has peripheral vision — sees what’s at the edges

8. Is comfortable working with plurality

So that’s our first attempt at thinking through what it means to have a networked mindset. We know it’s all a bit wordy. We would love your feedback and thoughts.

“The systems intelligence needed to deal with the challenges we face as the industrial age is ending is collective and must be built through working together at many levels, within and beyond organisations, in teams and networks that span industries, communities and global supply chains.”

Peter Senge.

In my next post I’ll write about what it means to be a networked organisation and why that matters. At the event we asked people to raise their hands if they thought a “networked mindset” was a thing. Everyone raised their hands. We know the room was full of network and systems change geeks like us, but we do think there is something in this. We had 48 people sign up for the event and are going to do some regular meetups now, exploring networks, systems change and collective intelligence.

  • We’re developing some design principles, with Snook and the International Futures Forum for community and collective power. If you’d like to get involved, drop me an email.

Run UK Portfolio at National Lottery Community Fund, Co-founder of the Point People, Policy Fellow IIPP, Founder Stewarding Loss, International Futures Forum.

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