Movement as Network

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ONE/Northwest has spent a bunch of time over the past few months thinking about how the Northwest environmental movement can apply the insights of social network theory and some other ideas to explore alternative approaches to connecting people and organizations within the movement. Gideon Rosenblatt, our E.D., has pulled together a major “think paper” that lays out a bunch of these ideas in an attempt to start a conversation. Some of them are bound to be controversial. Here are a few:

* The environmental movement is a network that is more than the sum of its people and organizations.

* This movement has invested in too much institutional overhead. Organizations need to focus on what they do best, and outsource the rest.

* The majority of local environmental groups work on niche issues and solutions that will never attract large membership bases. Funders need to help free the most important of these organizations from focusing on this distraction.

* There are three fundamental organizational strategies that environmental groups can adopt in their work; they need to pick one – and only one – strategy.

* A handful of “breakaway” organizations will emerge as environmental brands that serve local audiences by interpreting and distributing the work of other groups.

We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but we’re trying to ask some of the hard questions. I invite you to read the paper and to share your thoughts with us and others.

And of course please feel free to pass it along to anyone else who you think might be interested… we really want to see this circulated far and wide.

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