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What’s Our Job? Getting Clear on Network Functions

FOCUS (Vision/Outcomes) >> FUNCTION >> FORM (structure)


In this blogpost, Curtis Ogden, Senior Associate with IISC, looks at the importance of differentiating between the functions of the network and the functions of its members. Often these functions are very different sets of activities and roles.

He stresses that effective networks decide on their FOCUS (Vision/Outcomes), then clarify the network’s FUNCTIONS, and then create the FORM (structure) as needed. Sometimes networks have a tendency to start with structure and then overbuild or create unneeded structure and complexity, wasting energy, resources, and time.

He also includes a list of common Network Functions:

  • Build trusted relationships between multiple sectors and communities
  • Convene partners across state and sectors
  • Generate conversation among diverse partners
  • Identify newly arising (systemic) barriers so they can be addressed
  • Provide greater access to technical assistance providers
  • Facilitate access to relevant expertise (including lived experience), information and resources
  • Disseminate information about innovative approaches and policy priorities
  • Disrupt the status quo in the name of creating system change (ex. support litigation)
  • Contribute to movement; use innovation and creativity to inspire people to action
  • Curate relevant data, information, planning documents and other resources, and ensure community input is reflected


Ogden, Curtis. What’s Our Job? Getting Clear on Network Functions. ISSC Website. Sept 12, 2018

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