Distributed Collaboration : One of the Keys to Network Advocacy
Hardcore Organizing in Under Resourced Communities : More on Ego-Centric vs Network-Centric Organizations

Ego-Centric vs. Network-Centric

I presented at the N-Ten conference in Philadelphia over the weekend. It was great. There were lots of nonprofit tech folks (500+) hanging around discussing tools, strategy and new models of engagement. I walked away with a few gems from attending the meeting. Hopefully, I also made lots of great connections.

Marc Osten was on fire with an analysis of the new CRM tools and the savvy database mining techniques which are not really changing anything except clustering users (I need to search around to see if he shares his powerpoint slide and do a re-rant of his thoughts. ) It is great stuff and people should look at what he a has found in "learning" organizations.

Anyway, the panel I was on included April Peterson (democracyinaction) and save our environment queen. April has some great tools at DemocracyInAction and I hope she gets the resources she needs to expand the reach and modularize their offerings.

Finally, I wanted to make sure I captured the conversation that focused our panel and post the network-centric vs. ego-centric comments that we scratched out on flip charts for my notes. It was picking up on a thread from the E-volve Foundation and something Rob Stuart and I had been flushing out with friends.

EGO-Centric Organizational Characteristics
* Focuses on expanding the size of the organization.
* Staff evaluations based on internal goals and objectives
* Value placed on raising organizational profile
* Organizational development and centralizing organizational resources
* Resistant to information sharing - Information viewed as proprietary.
* Hierarchal decision making structure
* Members contribute $ but not ideas
* Membership roles are narrowly defined (e.g. give $ not ideas).
* Defines programs as unique or original
* Power is centralized

Network-Centric Organizational Characteristics
* Focused on expanding number of people / organizations reached
* Focused on expanding capacity of network to perform
* Focused on expanding the network - participants and capabilities
* More attention paid to information sharing
* Values and rewards sharing of information
* Values social contact between staffs of partner organizations
* Encourages development of strong social ties
* Facilitates rise of multiple leaders by enabling coordinated action
* Values coordinated action over "leadership"
* Distributed power structure
* Power is pushed to the edge of the network
* Leverages and shares resources with partners
* Values cooperation, collaboration, redundancy and interaction.
* Members are full fledged "network citizens"

Please take a minute to comment on your take on ego-centric vs. network-centric.