ODI recently ran a webinar (May 5th 2011) entitled ‘Understanding and supporting networks: learning from theory and practice’.
Two papers were presented at the event. The first entitled Mind the network gaps was by Ben Ramalingam and explored the range of different ways networks are thought about and dealt with in the development and humanitarian sectors. After highlighting gaps apparent in the understanding of networks, it then explored the different approaches that might help address these.
The second by Simon Hearn and Enrique Mendizabal entitled Not everything that connects is a network explored whether networks are always the most appropriate vehicle for policy formulation, innovation and global governance. They then went onto question, where they are appropriate, how can we make the best use of them? They argued for a more rigorous understanding of their nature, particularly their value (and costs), and presented a revised Network Functions Approach as a model for rationalised investment in networks.