Development Cooperation 2.0 (IV): Working groups: Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation

Ismael Peña-López (moderator), Shafika Isaacs, Vikas Nath, Paula Uimonen
Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation

Ismael Peña-López: Introduction

see my position paper here

Paula Uimonen: Is development cooperation prepared?

No. The structure is too bureaucratic.
But the network logic is horizontal, cross-sectorial, transversal, non-hierarchical.
But it seems that the international arena is working for a more networked development cooperation sector.

Shafika Isaacs: Are organizations prepared to network?

It depends: they’re all in an evolutionary process.
There’re more and more organizations working in the field of ICT4D.
And a rising awareness on the issue.
Big leadership behind ICT4D fostering.
Common agenda that enabled collaboration and networking, especially withing the civil society, with an inflection point at the WSIS.

Vikas Nath: What is networking and how can this be achieved?

People join networks for two reasons: (1) more benefit than the cost of joining it and (2) multiplier effect that a network is increased by one member.
There’s no optimum design for a network: the network will shape itself according to its needsl.

Conclusions from my group (the four people above)

Objective facts
  • Network culture assumes the character of the leading person/organization, of the dominant personalities
  • Networking is about “we”, and ceases to exist when focused at the “I” — not a consensus on this part
  • The Network Society is here, and is here to stay
  • In developed countries — and their institutions and organizations — infrastructures is not the issue
  • Big funding agents foster collaboration through compulsory partnerships
  • Network participation implies engagement with the other (which might be different from you), boundary crossing
  • Where there is power there is resistance, and resistance is also organized in networks (Foucault)
  • We lose to dream, we ain’t dreaming enough, we “think small”
  • Lack of e-awareness
  • Competition for funding
New concepts
  • The contradiction that the network compromises the individual with the collective will
  • Networks can bring disruptive creation
  • I exist because I am on the Internet
  • The Network is becoming more “real” than reality itself, we should think digital
  • Network creates a more human society
  • The power dynamics are designed by the network leaders
  • The network is cold and has no emotions
  • Big nonprofits will act as hubs, and distribute work to smallest nonprofits and individual online volunteers
  • The social and cultural aspects of ICTs will promote networking
  • We have potential to make positive changes, because we are the network,and networks have potential to make significant changes
  • Web 2.0 enabling more collaboration and bottom-up initiatives
  • Resistance, which leads to lack of change
  • Endorsement, that leads to progress
  • Impossibility to keep tight control
  • Flexibilize organizations
  • Focus on what value you are adding to the network
  • Be a statue sometimes and not always the pigeon

General conclusions (from all groups)

  • Networks are here and are powerful
  • There’s evidence of change and shifting towards networking: in the society, in organizations. And there’s an evolving trend towards more networking
  • Networks are catalysts, make things happen, have multiplier effects… but they have no essence on their own, they just mirror the good and bad things of the society, what works and what does not work, there’s nothing new under the (networked) sun but humans
  • Strong need to enable individuals so they can work with ICTs, in networked frameworks
  • Same with organizations: collective change, organizational change, reshaping according to networking needs
  • We have to make networks explicit, design them, rule them, have common goals, a common agenda, managing confidence and leadership. Monitoring and network assessment is a must that comes along with network creation and maintenance.
  • We should work towards inclusive networks, fostering capacities, networks that empower their nodes so they can still be a part of the network.
  • The Web 2.0 is seen as a (potential) inclusion concept/philosophy/technology, an empowering one
  • Caveat #1: all these conclusions are not axiomatic: there are shades, blurring edges, contradictions, etc.
  • Caveat #2: this is how we see networks today, but we should also keep in mind that networks (and society) will evolve, so should these conclusions


Development Cooperation 2.0 (2008)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2008) “Development Cooperation 2.0 (IV): Working groups: Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation” In ICTlogy, #52, January 2008. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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3 Comments to “Development Cooperation 2.0 (IV): Working groups: Networking Cooperation — towards the networked Cooperation” »

  1. Hi ismael,
    Your conclusions are very good. Networks are a very common way to evolution for humans. Networks constitute the way we shape our thoughts in our brain, and social networks are the structure in which we organize culture and knowledge sharing.
    There in social networks knowledge grows if there’s Social Capital. Like human capital or physical capital, social capital, that is based on the relations of the members in a network, is essential for creating knowledge.
    Cohesion inside the network must co-exist with bridging, that’s relation outside the network, with other networks.
    The Internet makes this kind of Social capital more feasible because members in a network can be spread over the planet and thus belong to other networks.
    The reasons why people join a network are based on benefit. We shouldn’t forget that social capital is a concept based on an economical view. People are ready to strengthen their links if they see a possible benefit in two possible senses: first, to gain status or comfort (earn money, make business,etc.) and second, to keep the present status or comfort (Nan Lin, 2001).
    Finally, the idea that Social Networks help to bring “disruptive creation” was introduced in 1995 by Clayton M. Christensen who first introduced the disruptive technologies. He classified them in two types: the lower end: for new market niches not considered before, and the lower end: for non existing markets. The web 2.0 was a disruptive technology or a disruptive innovation for lower end. Most of the ITC creations we are discovering in these years are lower end disruptive innovations and that’s why we always get impressed and have to change and learn so quickly. Social Networks make this transition easier by getting the support of the members and learning collectively.
    Humans are network animals.
    that’s it!

  2. Pingback: Social networks and disruptive innovation : I & K Social Net

  3. Just for the record: follow the second comment/pingback to get the references of the authors Oriol speaks about in his comment.

    Oriol, great reflections of yours, BTW, thank you!

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