Recruit the Network
Innovation within systems is a human journey that relies on a clear understanding of the system’s dynamics and its opportunities to innovate. The first step of this journey is to bring together diverse stakeholders from government, business, non-profit, and civil society. These stakeholders, who represent their organizations and communities, could be innovators, investors, intermediaries, change agents, or leaders. You’ll need this broad network to help you understand and map the system you’re trying to change!
In addition to mapping the system and co-creating the challenge, these stakeholders may eventually become challenge participants, coaches, short-term advisors, judges, or even funders! One of the benefits of broad engagement for mapping and defining the challenge is that these roles organically evolve as sense-making happens.
The first step is to build this broad network. Here’s how:
Consider using stakeholder analysis tools (such as a Power/Interest Matrix) with your internal team to begin your recruitment strategy. While your initial results will not reflect all of the players in the system or potential challenge stakeholders, they will help you identify a broad range of potential actors to approach initially.
Decisions that will set your direction
People you will need to find your way
Super connectors are individuals who maintain contact with thousands of people in many different worlds and know them well enough to give them a call. They are often at the center of an extensive network and have a knack for making friends and acquaintances in various social, cultural, professional, and economic circles. You’ll need Super Connectors within these systems and existing networks to help identify individuals and institutions.
Often, you’ll need to reach out to second, third, and fourth-level connections to recruit the right participants.
Critical systems actors and innovators can be easy to miss! Ensure you’re engaging (and compensating) local expertise to recruit the network actively.
This expertise is optional but would be an asset to your team as you recruit the network.
Review your plan for these critical elements
VilCap, an experienced accelerator/incubator program for social entrepreneurs, came to a similar conclusion on active recruitment being necessary:
“Originally, when we were launching programs, we thought like Ray Kinsella in “Field of Dreams”: “If you build it, they will come.” We would send out tweets, post blogs on NextBillion and other sites, and talk with other impact investors – and that would be our primary recruiting strategy. We found one thing: great entrepreneurs are so focused on their businesses that they aren’t even reading this blog post! In partnership with the Monterey Institute for International Studies, we launched the Frontier Market Scouts program, sending interns to trade shows, happy hours, online message boards – basically anywhere that great entrepreneurs serving the BoP might be – and found terrific entrepreneurs with BoP solutions who had never heard the term “social entrepreneurship.” We’re thrilled with the results.”
See the warning signs first
These resources can help you on your journey
Adapt and use this template with your internal team to plan your initial outreach:
Adapt and use this template with your internal team to keep track of possible stakeholders:
No Crowd-Sourced Recommendations have been submitted. Be the very first one!