Next Generation Leadership Alumni Network

Network Building Efforts

Weaving Activities

Annual gatherings that provide opportunities for NGL Alumni to form deeper connections and learn from one another: The annual gathering (“reunions”) play a critical role in insuring that Alumni across cohorts begin to understand the work of the entire network, and identify potential further collaborative work. RCLA is supporting the organization of three reunions, the first of which launched the formation of cluster and cooperative inquiry groups, described below.

Cooperative inquiries designed to provide intimate and sustained opportunities for small groups of Alumni to work together around a common issue or interest: RCLA is organizing the opportunity for interested Alumni to participate in cooperative inquiries that are structured to address questions NGL Alumni agree are valuable to pursue. Cooperative inquiry is a participatory, qualitative research methodology that yields new ideas about leadership questions of importance to the inquiry members.

Cooperative inquiry facilitation training that offers interested Alumni the ability to fully own the cooperative inquiry process they experience: RCLA has invited interested Alumni to participate in a cooperative inquiry facilitation training program. This is a one-day intensive training on cooperative inquiry and possibly an on-going apprenticeship with a skilled senior facilitator who will be facilitating a cooperative inquiry.

Cluster groups in which Alumni work together around common issues or interests: These groups must pose a practice question of interest, and organize specified shared work that will produce a document describing their findings. Unlike cooperative inquiry, these groups are not facilitated and do not follow a formal research approach.

An Action Fund to seed projects generated through the above networking activities. Co-operative inquiries, reunions, cluster groups or the other network-building activities in which Alumni might participate, sometimes generate follow-up activities such as new collaborations among members of the group, the development of new initiatives, or efforts to disseminate important insights gained through the process. A limited Action Fund is a vehicle for supporting (or seeding) some of these additional activities.

Opportunities for Alumni to disseminate what they are learning from these network-building activities to larger audiences. RCLA is creating other opportunities to extend the learning from the inquiry groups to wider audiences. This includes a collaborative process with NGL Alumni, who may co-present at select meetings or develop with the RCLA other strategies for dissemination that might use RCLA’s networks or their own networks to test the new ideas that are developed, and to encourage further feedback.

A governance structure that supports active fellow participation in decision-making about the program. RCLA is working with an advisory group made up of two representatives from each of the five NGL cohorts to ensure the relevance and importance of the network-building activities provided as a result of this partnership. This group advises on the design of the activities and works with RCLA to develop the criteria and determine the process by which Alumni access the funds for collaborative working.

A documentation committee that will help describe the effects of the weaving. This committee will assist in developing the metrics and data that will describe the weaving activities and the impact they have in solidifying the Alumni network.

A private website function that facilitates communication within the Alumni network. RCLA supports a private website that allows Alumni to share up-to-date information about themselves and their work, and is searchable so that they can connect with each other.

Additional intentional weaving activities: RCLA works to maintain and deepen the collaborative interaction among Alumni by helping to make Alumni aware of the work and skills of other Alumni, and identifying new opportunities for cross-cohort collaboration.