STRENGTHENING A GLOBAL VIRTUAL TEAM OF SOCIAL INNOVATION NETWORK ACTIVATORS
Ashoka Changemakers activates a global network of social entrepreneurs, innovators, business leaders, policy makers, and activists to build an Everyone A Changemaker movement. To build this movement, Changemakers searches, selects and supports entrepreneurs, delivers groundbreaking analysis about seemingly intractable problems and social innovation solutions, and creates strong partnerships. Within Changemakers, a global Network Activation Team was established to build on the achievements of Changemaker Challenges and other engagements as well as maintain relationships with entrants and network partners, which are critical for developing a supportive ecosystem for the Everyone A Changemaker movement.
The Network Activation Team has played an important role creating a supportive structure for changemaker leaders around the world to create new connections with peers, thought leaders, industry experts, and other stakeholders that increase their social and knowledge capital. However, the day-to-day responsibilities of supporting the implementation of Changemakers engagements and network building left little time for developing a strategy to guide the team’s work. Furthermore, operating as a virtual team where many members work in different country offices made it difficult for staff to remain connected with each other.
A gap between projects created an opportune time for the Network Activation Team to set strategic goals for the coming year, improve its work processes, and enable team members to get to know each other better. Shifting Patterns was asked to help plan and support the implementation of this retreat. Unlike other consulting firms that take ownership of client meetings, Shifting Patterns’ Founder, Kimberley Jutze, worked closely with the Director of Network Activation, Daniela Matielo, to co-design a retreat that centered on key issues identified by team members. Rather than leading the retreat, Kimberley supported the Director of Network Activation as the main facilitator. The retreat also strengthened the leadership skills of staff who were tasked with determining the team’s strategy and improving work processes.
Among the results the Network Activation Team achieved by the end of the retreat were: a purpose statement, strategic goals and an action plan to guide the work of the team over the next year; greater clarity about team members’ roles and responsibilities; and processes for improving team meetings and for increasing support among team members. Equally as important, team members formed stronger bonds during activities that took place within and outside of the retreat. The Network Activation Team is prepared to carry forward its plans and enact the principles of a high-performing virtual team.
To learn more about Ashoka Changemakers and to participate in the Everyone A Changemaker movement, visit www.changemakers.com.