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Collaboration & Network Development

Are you considering developing a partnership with another organization?  Maybe you want to learn more about the potential benefits and risks before you move forward?  Or maybe you want to learn more about how to develop an effective and sustainable partnership arrangement?  Explore this page of resources to learn more about how to plan, monitor and evaluate collaborative partnerships.



Affinity Diagram

Are you trying to develop creative solutions in circumstances that feel confusing and disorganized? Maybe a new team with diverse experiences has formed or some members of the team have incomplete knowledge of the area of analysis?


The affinity process is a great way to get a diverse group to work on a creative level to address challenging issues. It is particularly useful when you are: doing a free flowing brainstorming session; sifting through large volumes of data; and/or encouraging new patterns of thinking. This resource provides a step by step guide to how facilitators can use the affinity process.


Level: Intermediate
Download Here: Affinity Diagram, PDF 64KB
Publication Information: Balanced Scorecard Institute. 1996. Affinity Diagram. Handbook for Basic Process Improvement.




Continuum of Collaboration

The Continuum of Collaboration is a great one page handout that you can use to easily illustrate, explain and discuss a range of collaboration options available to help find the best option for your needs. From networking on the low end of the continuum to full integration at the high end , this would come in handy when working with a group to decide the intent and scope of a potential partnership.


Level: Intermediate
Download Here: Continuum of Collaboration, PDF 44KB
Publication Information: Continuum of Colaboration. 2003. Adapted from Integrated Health Promotion: A Practice Guide for Service Providers. State Government of Victoria: Melbourne Australia.




Managing Knowledge Networks for Sustainable Development

Are you currently involved in a knowledge network project and are wondering what it takes for a network to maximize its potential?


The book is written for practitioners who are working with different models of individual and institutional collaboration. It captures the details of network operations and management and is the result of five years of experimentation with networks at the International Institute for Sustainable Development.


Level: Advanced
Download Here: Managing Knowledge Networks for Sustainable Development, PDF 340KB
Publication Information: Creech, H. and Willard, T. 2001. Managing Knowledge Networks for Sustainable Development. International Institute for Sustainable Development.




Measuring While You Manage: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Networks

Are you considering starting a knowledge network? Are you currently part of a knowledge network and are looking into different ways to monitor your progress and report back to your funders?


This working paper provides useful information for groups involved in knowledge network development and evaluation. The Planning Framework provides a how-to-guide for individuals who are looking to start a knowledge network. The Monitoring Framework presents an efficient way to gather data on network activities. The Evaluation Framework presents an experiential framework for evaluation that is specific to networks and properly accounts for the “network advantage” - the added benefits of increased collaboration and capacity developed through networks.


Level: Advanced
Download Here: Measuring While You Manage, PDF 340KB
Publication Information: Creech, H. 2001. Measuring While You Manage: Planning, Monitoring and Evaluating Knowledge Networks Version 1.0. Internationl Institute for Sustainable Development.




The Partnership Toolkit: Tools for Building and Sustaining Partnerships

Is your organization considering developing a partnership with another organization? Do you currently partner with other organizations and are looking at ways to improve the working relationship?


The Partnership Toolkit provides a useful set of tools and resources developed with diverse organizations and contexts in mind. It includes tools to assist smaller agencies in working more effectively with larger organizations as well as tools to assist community agencies in working with funders. Some provide guidance on how to respect cultural differences across organizations while other tools are useful for long or short term partnerships.


Level: Beginner
Download Here: The Partnership Toolkit, PDF 600KB
Publication Information: Collaboration Roundtable. 2001. The Partnership Toolkit: Tools for Building and Sustaining Partnerships.




Thinking Like A Network

Addressing increasingly complex social, environmental, and economic problems with limited resources challenges us to work in more creative and strategic ways. One approach that can increase impact and sustainability is the intentional use of networks.


Brought together following a learning event in Vancouver in December 2009, featuring Barbara McMillan of Community Foundations of Canada, this collection includes a 10-minute educational video and corresponding presentation and resource materials aimed at promoting discussion and providing practical examples and useful tools for moving beyond “networking” to “thinking like a network”.


Access video here: Thinking Like a Network


Download documents:
Building Smart Communities Through Network Weaving, PDF 348KB
Do Networks Really Work Article, PDF 106KB
Network Health Scorecard, PDF 66KB
Network Weaver Checklist, PDF 135KB
Practical Evaluations for Networks, PDF 279KB
Thinking Like a Network Resources List, PDF 29KB


View the PowerPoint slides:
Thinking Like A Network (Barb McMillan), PPT 8.8MB