We continue to have countless conversations with funders and others who want to "grow" networks of collaborations and innovations. This is impossible until they have enough network literacy to understand what it means that a "network" actually "grows."
Here are 9 simple indicators of network growth, to this purpose. They become both indicators and strategies for the intentional growth of existing networks.
People in the network gain broader and deeper awareness of the available assets in the network
People in the network gain broader and deeper awareness of potential new collaborators and co-conspirators in the network
People in the network spend more time introducing people to one another who are 2+ steps away from each other in the network
People in the network spend more time introducing themselves to others who are 2+ steps away from them in the network
People in the network discover more new opportunities to engage and combine their assets to create a future different from the past
People in the network have more conversations together about their dreams and assets than their problems and deficiencies
People in the network value change and differences as more valuable to the network's growth than similarities and protecting a status quo
People in the network become "network weavers" who intentionally commit time and imagination to looking for new ways to connect unconnected people in the network
People in the network together become more self-organizing, innovative, agile, inclusive, strengths-based, and dedicated to shared thrivancy