David Ehrlichman, "Impact Networks: Creating Connection, Sparking Collaboration, and Catalyzing Systemic Change" (Berrett-Koehler, 2021)


I recently caught up with the very busy David Erlichman, co-founder and coordinator of the Converge network (www.converge.net), about his fantastic book Impact Networks: Creating Connection, Sparking Collaboration, and Catalyzing Systemic Change (Berrett-Koehler, 2021). Solving complex problems like climate change or homelessness demands intense collaboration between diverse organizations and individuals. In his book, David argues that a network approach combines the strategic rigor and agility of modern organizations with the deep connection and shared purpose of communities.

Drawing on his experience working with over fifty impact networks over the past decade, David describes how to cultivate a network mentality. He then goes deeply into the five Cs of creating impact networks: * clarify purpose and principles * convene the people * cultivate trust * coordinate actions * collaborate for systems change. Given the increasing urgency of the issues we face, impact networks have never been more essential.

What I love about this book—and what I enjoyed so much about our conversation—is the opportunity for exploring the potential of human networks (and networks of networks!) to bring about significant systemic change. On the relationship between systems and networks, David writes that "the networks that underlie systems—organizational, social, planetary—have a huge influence on how healthy and effective these systems are". I enjoyed getting to ask David about his thoughts on network leadership—and what it means for this work to be grounded in the wisdom of living systems.

Throughout this rich and highly useful book, David points to some valuable resources within the Converge Network Toolkit. I've checked them out and suggest you do too! You can find them here.

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Kevin Lindsay

"What is the pattern that connects the crab to the lobster and the primrose to the orchid, and all of them to me, and me to you?" - Gregory Bateson
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