Network Weaving Handbook
The Network Weaver Handbook is a practical guide for people interested in catalyzing a new network or enhancing an existing one. Each chapter contains a short section describing key concepts, case studies, and many activities. Following each chapter is a resource section with readings, handouts, checklists, and worksheets — which you can easily duplicate and hand out to people in your network.
Consulting, Coaching and Facilitation
Over the ten plus years Meta Strategies has operated, the consulting services naturally evolved from the strategy development work we were doing. We use a complexity lens to explore and understand organizational and community challenges. We bring a large network of colleagues with a range of perspectives to the work. In each case we will work with the client to be clear about the scope of the work, methods and deliverables. Our experience with networks and understanding adaptive processes inform our preferred way of working. Within this cluster of services, Meta Strategies has experience with planning and delivery of learning events on topics related to new ideas we are exploring. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with others on the design and delivery of these events. Facilitation is a talent that grows with experience and a deep understanding of process.
At Meta Strategies we recognize how central good process is to our work and we pay careful attention to meeting design, facilitation methods, and collaborative planning. We are available to help you deliver great meetings, consultations, participatory events. We actively support the work of Keith McCandless and his use of Liberating Structures. We believe real change happens with the people who know the work best. Using the Liberating Structures approach helps to unleash all the good ideas and innovation you need to make and keep the change you need. Whether you want to improve quality or increase safety or simply find a better way to do what you are doing, Liberating Structures can help you and your teams to learn new ways to connect with each other, listen to each other and act together to make a difference.
Social Network Mapping
Working with June Holley we offer the opportunity for groups and organizations to learn how to use the power of social networks to accomplish their goals. With network visualization software we can help you create dynamic maps of the networks you work in and help you learn the skills to weave those networks to be both sustainable generative and remarkably innovative. Read more about this on www.networkweaving.com or check out the slide deck on the steps involved in mapping your network. We are committed to supporting you to learn the software and build the capacity to both map and weave your networks in house.
We are working actively with our colleagues in health and the community to advance the practice of positive deviance. This is a behaviour change approach when faced with challenges that feel intractable. The work is based on the premise that in any system some people, working the same set of constraints or restrictions seem to do better. Liz Rykert is a PD coach and is helping a Canadian research project and a large health system to bring PD to their work on stopping the spread of infections in hospitals. Liz is also actively partnering with others to bring PD to the community. Please contact us if you are interested in using PD. To read more visit www.positivedeviance.ca or web site of the Positive Deviance Initiative www.positivedeviance.org
Strategy means different things to everyone. We understand strategy to be the development of an overall approach that helps a group or organization to achieve its desired outcomes. We see strategy development as an important phase in any work. At Meta Strategies we are careful to take the time up front to learn about how an organization works, what its cycles of work are, how people and information flow in and out, and what people need to keep the stakeholders and the board engaged and happy. To develop a strategy, whether it is to guide a new online presence or a shift in organizational work practices, we will collaboratively design a process that reflects the unique context of your organization or community.
Our talents as process facilitators help bring the experience alive for people and keep it creative. For some people strategy is all they need. For others strategy is the first step in a long journey. Either way, we have learned there is real value in building a collective understanding of what needs to happen and then together decide how to approach work. When you hold the big vision you can sort out the best place to start and let things grow from there. The process we design with you may include consultation with stakeholders, research, assessment of existing tools or resources, and group experiences that bring a range of perspectives to the table. The outcome will be a clear statement of direction and actions needed. Strategy is not static. We expect as work begins things will change.
Design and Web Site Planning and Architecture
At Meta Strategies we provide a range of design services. In some cases a client needs to refresh an online presence but keep much of the brand the same. In other cases we have been approached by organizations that have little more than a name and in some cases just an idea. They need a logo, a look, and basic design elements for everything from letterhead to their website. We take our cues from you. If you have a look and need to bring it to life online we are happy to work with existing designers and create a solution that works. If you need a full service design approach we will work with you to create a look that works and communicates who you are.
"Start small and let it grow" has been a reliable rule at Meta Strategies when it comes to web development. In many cases clients have come to us with sophisticated web applications that no one seems to be using. We believe with a clear strategy you can determine the best place to start and then let your day to day priorities drive the growth and development of your online presence. The site architecture has to reflect current need and future demand. We will work with you to create a plan that works.
Content Management and Online Software Development
The ability to easily update a web site is critical to the success of any online presence. We believe updates and changes have to be in your hands. At Meta Strategies we ask the groups we work with to agree to learn how to maintain their own sites. Our approach is to determine the degree of comfort with technology and then to recommend solutions that fit the need. In some cases this means we recommend a reliable blogging tool and let the client take it from there. In other cases we develop database driven dynamic content management tools that are customized to each groups needs.
We build custom software applications to support work tasks and produce useful information to help you manage your work. In some cases organizations need very specific solutions to help them manage volumes of work or complicated tasks. For example one chapter-based Ontario-wide organization was using ten different ways to track donations and issue receipts. Together we developed a web-based solution that issues receipts, aggregates donations, integrates local and province wide mailing lists and allows the data to be downloaded for offline applications such as mailing list labels. The users tend need a simple and clean interface to support their comfort with technology. Other applications include dynamic survey applications that allow a project manager to collect data to generate network maps. In another instance we have programmed online application forms for grants and scholarships.
Support and Training
We are committed building capacity. We can deliver custom training and mentoring that includes facilitation techniques, planning and process, online community animation, HTML and content management training.