Network Design & Process

The Chesapeake Foodshed Network (CFN) supports otherwise disparate efforts across the complex food system of the Chesapeake Bay region, by intentional design & process.

The CFN aims to be robust, flexible, & responsive.

A network approach promotes self-organization & collaborative action around shared priority areas.
Collective impact provides criteria for collaborative action, including:

• Common agenda

• Shared measurement system

• Mutually reinforcing activities

• Continuous communication

• Backbone support

The CFN Steering Team sets the strategic direction for the network; Network Management provides daily coordination, planning, communications, & facilitation; Network Participants grow the CFN through Work Groups, Action Teams, & other targeted regional initiatives.
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Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact

Successful networks are designed—they don’t just happen. Knowing a network’s essential design issues—and how to make and when to change design choices—is a crucial part of the practice of building effective social-impact networks.

Plastrik, Taylor, & Cleveland (2014)

Collective Impact

Large scale social change requires broad, cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations. Leaders of successful collective impact initiatives have embraced a new way of seeing, learning, and doing that marries emergent solutions with intentional outcomes.

Kania & Kramer (2011), Stanford Social Innovation Review


❖ Fair distribution of power, access, resources, opportunities, and outcomes

❖ Shared regional leadership

❖ Consensus-based decision making

❖ Network-wide culture of transparency, trust and accountability

❖ Continuous learning, problem solving, dialogue, reflection, and evaluation

❖ Shared experience, skill, and wisdom across cultures, communities, and sectors

❖ Value added to existing work while growing the whole and accelerating the pace of change