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Canada's Social innovation Generaion (SiG) on building a field

Author: SiG
Published Date: 3 February 2014

The Social innovation Generation (SiG) in Canada is developing new insights on fieldbuilding. If you, like us, would like to follow this work, you can download their flyer here or check out a short introduction below.

What is fieldbuilding?
Connecting fragmented players in a given area of work (weaving networks) to create an organized industry around an issue or challenge. So that…

The field can operate more effectively & efficiently, tease out best practices, improve outcomes.

Why should we care?
Fields and networks are what hold systems together. Thus, fields and networks are the key to changing systems. The intended outcome of field building:

Brings attention and legitimacy for a certain issue

Increases the exchange of theory & practice between domains (in order to tease out best practices and reduce inefficiencies)

Develops incentives for collaboration that may not have happened organically

How can you tell if you have Safety in the ‘Container’?
Safety and trust are a key ingredient to a healthy network. They enable sharing that, in turn, enables ‘good’ practice to emerge and further the field. How do we know when trust and a feeling of safety has been created within a network? Here are some positive signs to look for:

Network members challenge one another and ask questions in a constructive, non-threatening manner

Network members openly disagree with funders and can request that funders not be present at certain meetings

Network members speak openly about experiences, successes, learnings and insights

Network members are eager to experiement with new practices and request support of other members, sponsors, organizations etc.