Networks and Networking can be of great benefit to the ESD leaders going through their training – the opportunity to meet experts, their peers and exemplary figures in the field in Germany.
However, networking can also be made use of once the group return to their careers in their home countries. To prepare for this, Birgit & Michael used today to work through a detailed look at networks.
The morning opened with brainstorming.. What do you mean by networks? And how do they differ from organisations, teams & families?
The participants were asked to apply the concept of networks to their jobs as well.. What networks exist around your organisation?
Michael was then able to show how networks can differ drastically depending on their characteristics. They can be along a varying scale of formality, with a wide spectrum of participants, and the network can be open or closed to additional members, to name but a few variables.
Birgit was able to provide a practical example of networking using ‘All-Day Schools’ in Berlin. For the project to be a success, to provide longer care for children during the day, thematic networks must work in harmony e.g. those focusing on teaching, and those focusing on more creative, afternoon project work must be in sync to provide an optimum service for the children.
After lunch, the energiser for the group came in the form of a game with a long stick..
The participants were tasked with bringing the long stick down to the ground by balancing it on one finger of each player… this proved harder than first though, with human nature pushing back up to ensure the stick is held. Eventually, through team work and several tries, the stick reached earth.
Returning energised, the group moved on to an ‘Action Learning Set‘ exercise. The challenge was, in two groups, to develop a strategy for a challenge in a network. These challenges were put forward by the participants, voted on, and then chosen. The issues were ‘Poor commitment of network partners to the network’ & ‘Sharing expertise from experienced members to new members.’
The participants who suggested these issues explained their problem, the consultants asked questions, advised on what they thought could be done, and the client then gives feedback on what they think might prove useful. One such participant described this as a very worthwhile venture, allowing her to get critical views on her work, and make changes accordingly. The summary to close the day looked at how the method could be used in the participant’s real lives, and what it’s true value is.