Leave Resources

As the project progresses, it’s important to develop valuable resources that enable the network leaders and members to operate without the deep guidance of outside advisors. Developing these key pieces indicates that the network is ready to operate independently with a higher probability of ease and clarity.

Plans that clearly articulate the shared goals, objectives, and strategies across several domains of work are essential as the network transitions from outside support to internal capacities. 

  • Action Plan:
    Depending on the purpose of the network, network leadership, and members need to have a clear and agreed-upon plan. As part of the planning, assess the capacity to execute and modify the plan to match needs with what is possible. 
  • Communications and engagement plans:
    Plans that articulate goals, objectives, audiences, and tactics to communicate and engage with membership will guide network staff in building awareness and knowledge, disseminating high-quality information and products, and positively influencing the attitudes and behaviors of the network members. These plans are interdependent and should be created in tandem. 
  • Funding plan:
    Networks face challenges finding sustainable funders familiar with network processes and timelines. Networks should prioritize finding funding from donors compelled to scale their impact, reduce duplication of efforts across organizations and agencies, and achieve more ambitious goals. As such, it is wise to explore sustainable funding options to support the network’s activities beyond the initial stages. This can involve identifying potential donors, seeking partnerships with funding organizations, or exploring revenue-generating opportunities.
  • Evaluation and Learning Plans:
    Continuously evaluate the network’s progress and impact to identify areas for improvement and adaptation. Consider using network health surveys to understand the impact across distributed networks. Foster a culture of learning within the network that encourages reflection, feedback, and the integration of new knowledge. Use evaluation findings to refine strategies and inform future initiatives. Make changes to the above plans based on what is learned and discovered. 

Tangible Resources to support network operations might include:

  • Documentation and guides:
    Create comprehensive documentation that captures the insights, methodologies, and lessons learned throughout the systems innovation journey. Develop practical guides or toolkits that stakeholders can refer to for guidance and inspiration.
  • Communication assets:
    Document success stories, case studies, and impact narratives that showcase the network’s achievements. Develop communication assets, such as 1-pagers, slide decks, branding, and style guides that provide consistency in look and feel and for use across the network. Generate content to share beyond your network, including e-newsletters, infographics, and social media posts, that engage stakeholders beyond the membership and inspire others to join the network. 
  • Legacy assets:
    You can transfer tangible and intangible assets from your systems innovation work to the network at this stage. That might include a credible or meaningful program brand, the connections the program has built (in the form of a directory or spreadsheet), training materials, etc. 

Seed Funding and In-Kind Resources  

Consider budgeting for network seed funding within the innovation challenge, as network leaders will likely emerge from the systems sensing process or the competition. Working with the established programs and institutions that are part of the network to think creatively about what types of resources can be easily shared or provided in-kind (do this while exploring the network purpose and charter). These might include:

  • Physical space to convene 
  • % LoE of existing staff time
  • Use of communications and collaboration platforms and software (i.e., organizations with these licenses agree to host workspaces, meetings, and activities on behalf of the network)
  • Training and capacity building 
  • A legal/administrative “home” as an initiative of an existing, formally registered organization

Decisions that will set your direction

  • What are network members saying they need the most to get started?
  • What are the priority assets (both tangible and intangible) that the systems innovation program has built that the network has the capacity and interest to take on?
  • What financial or in-kind resources can be transferred or brokered on behalf of the network?
  • What planning and guidance will be available to the network when they no longer have formal facilitation support?

People you will need to find your way

  • Network Designers

Technical experts in network design, creation, and facilitation can support the new leadership and network managers’ handover.

  • Network Manager

Having a dedicated role in managing the handover process will bolster the odds of a successful transition.

  • Fundraisers

Establish who will support network fundraising as we advance.

Review your plan for these critical elements

  • Check in on network health. This phase may be a good time to use a tool to assess the network’s health. While you may not be able to answer each question yet, ensure the network has a strong foundation at launch and embraces the practice of self-monitoring.
  • Strike a balance between technical assistance and facilitation. At this stage, technical experts should pull back and allow local champions to lead.

See the warning signs first

  • Lack of resources. The network will require resources to sustain operations and execute plans. If the network needs more resources to bring plans to life, it could indicate a mismatch between vision and reality. Assess what may need to be scaled back or modified to match the resources available.
  • Low capacity. Networks thrive when people are willing to contribute time, expertise, and energy. The network’s capacity to sustain and grow might be low if members are unwilling to dedicate time – or rely too heavily on the network coordinator for decisions, strategy, and activity implementation. This suggests a need to reevaluate priorities.

These resources can help you on your journey

This Mural contains exercises for each step in Phase 4 (Galvanize Champions, Choose Modalities, and Leave Resources). Use the bottom portion of the Mural to support the Network to identify milestones.

Use Indicators of Network Health or Network Health Scorecard to evaluate the network and create an action plan around identified weaknesses or risks.

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