Network Weaving – Connecting People And Facilitating Collaboration


Networks, whether formal or informal, open or closed, serve as essential channels for information exchange, trust-building, and opportunity creation. While formal networks provide structure and accountability, informal networks thrive on friendship, mutual benefit, trust, and commitment, often extending beyond organizational boundaries. Various types of human networks exist, including team-based, organizational, social, community-based, and knowledge networks, each serving specific purposes in connecting people and facilitating collaboration across different contexts and scales.


In today's interconnected world, the art of network weaving serves as the backbone for fostering collaboration, innovation, and collective impact. By understanding, nurturing, and extending our social networks, we unlock greater possibilities for personal growth, organizational effectiveness, and community impact.


At its core, network weaving transcends mere connection-building; it's an intricate dance of fostering relationships that breathe life into our personal and professional endeavors. Whether formal or informal, open or closed, networks serve as conduits for information, trust, and opportunity. While formal networks create structured relationships and accountability, informal networks are fostered by friendship, mutuality, trust, and commitment. Furthermore, informal relationships can extend broadly beyond the boundaries of organizations opening up new frontiers of possibility. Networks can be open and closed or restricted. Closed networks are better for building trusted relationships, creating accountability, and leveraging existing knowledge and practices. Open networks, on the other hand, are better for generating new capabilities and innovation. Some of the types of human networks:
  1. Team-based networks - People assigned to the same team, project, or initiative.
  2. Organizational networks - People within the same company, institution, or association.
  3. Social networks - Acquaintances, friends, and business contacts, both internal and external to one's organization.
  4. Communities - Groups who share a specialty, role, passion, or set of problems, and interact regularly.
  5. Knowledge networks - People who pool their distributed knowledge for a challenge or mass collaboration.

Sample Activity

Mapping networks unveils the hidden architecture of our social landscapes, offering insights into information flow, influence dynamics, and collaborative potential. By charting our personal networks, we gain clarity on strengths, gaps, and opportunities for growth. The activity is done by creating a visual map that traces the nature of connections:
  1. Identify Key Relationships: List the key people in your life, such as family members, close friends, colleagues, mentors, and acquaintances.
  2. Categorize Relationships: Categorize each contact based on the nature of your relationship with them, such as Family, Friends, Work Colleagues, Professional Contacts, Mentors, etc.
  3. Visualize Connections: Create a diagram, either manually or using digital tools, representing yourself in the center with lines connecting you to each contact. Use different colors or shapes to represent relationship categories.
  4. Map Strength of Connections: Assess the strength of your connections with each person, perhaps using a scale. Add this information to your diagram, indicating stronger connections with thicker lines or using different colors.
  5. Identify Potential Gaps or Opportunities: Analyze your network for any gaps or areas of need. Consider opportunities for collaboration or support within your existing network.
  6. Set Goals: Based on your analysis, set goals for expanding or strengthening your personal network. This may involve reaching out to new people, reconnecting with old contacts, or deepening existing relationships.
  7. Regularly Update Your Map: Your personal network is dynamic, so make it a habit to update your network map as new relationships form and existing ones change.
Here are some specific actions to weave networks. Seek to connect across lines of difference and connect those disconnected: Facilitate Introductions:
  • Act as a connector by facilitating introductions between individuals who share common interests, goals, or complementary skills.
  • Be proactive in identifying potential synergies and opportunities for collaboration within your network, and make introductions accordingly.
Host Networking Events:
  • Organize networking events, such as mixers, meetups, or workshops, to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds and industries.
  • Provide opportunities for participants to share their experiences, expertise, and interests, fostering meaningful connections and collaborations.
  • Facilitate icebreaker activities or group discussions to encourage interaction and relationship-building among attendees.
Participate in Community Initiatives:
  • Engage actively in community initiatives, such as volunteering, advocacy campaigns, or industry associations, to expand your network and contribute to collective efforts.
  • Attend community events, forums, or town hall meetings to connect with other stakeholders and stay informed about relevant issues and opportunities.
  • Collaborate with local organizations or grassroots initiatives to address common challenges and create positive change within your community.
Share Knowledge and Resources:
  • Share valuable resources, insights, and best practices with your network through channels such as social media, newsletters, or online forums.
  • Offer to mentor or provide guidance to emerging leaders or individuals seeking to develop specific skills or expertise within your field.
  • Leverage your network to crowdsource solutions to problems or seek advice from peers who may have relevant experience or perspectives.
Attend Conferences and Workshops:
  • Participate in conferences, seminars, or workshops within your industry or area of interest to expand your network and stay abreast of the latest developments.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities during these events to connect with speakers, panelists, and fellow attendees.
  • Follow up with new contacts after the event to maintain relationships and explore potential collaborations or knowledge-sharing opportunities.
Create Online Communities or Forums:
  • Establish online communities or forums centered around specific topics, industries, or professional interests to facilitate networking and knowledge exchange.
  • Moderate discussions and encourage active participation to foster a sense of community and facilitate connections among members.
  • Provide resources, tools, and opportunities for collaboration within the online community to add value to members' experiences and strengthen relationships.
Through building networks, we can enhance conscious leadership by fostering empathy, authentic relationships, inclusivity, collaboration, personal and professional growth, and purposeful collective leadership.


Knowledge of the role of networks is growing. There are many individuals who are developing knowledge and shaping resources about weaving better networks.

Target Audience:

  • Organizational leaders 
  • Community organizers

Got feedback or input? Please share!