Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Network Centric Advocacy

Network-centric advocacy is the adaptation of advocacy and traditional grass roots organizing to the age of connectivity.

Network Theory

Over the last several years theorists and practitioners have been cross-pollinating the lessons learned from network theory and technologydevelopment to other disciplines. They’ve updated social network theory,marketing techniques, infrastructure planning, business models, warfaremodels and group dynamic theory. The discoveries have lead to newapproaches, including revolutionary leaps in problem solving, softwaredevelopment, computing, law enforcement, communications, marketing andsupply chain logistics.

Network-Centric Engagement

An individual acts as part of a coordinated network.Encouraging success means supporting each model for engagement andfinding the most effective investments to empower the individual. Network-centric advocacy is the least understood and least supported model fororganizing the people and resources involved in the pursuit of progressivepolicy. Implementation and support of network-centric approach complementscurrent models of engagement. Planning network-centric campaigns requiresunderstanding both the processes of activism and the support elements thatenable a network to function efficiently.

Network-Centric Advocacy

Finally, network-centric advocacy is a hybrid of the individualdetermination and participation typical of direct and grassroots models withthe efficiencies and strengths of the organizational model. The hybrid is onlypossible because of the increased density of communications connectionsamong potential participants and the ability to scale those connections tomeet demand. The network-centric advocacy focuses on supportingindividual engagement by connected grid resources (that may reside withindividuals or organizations). The network-centric approach relies on densecommunication ties to provide the synchronizing effects, prioritization anddeployment roles of the organization.

The potential for network-centric advocacy increases with eachadvancement in connectivity technology (web meetings, phone wi-fi,teleconference, voice mail, cell phones, voice over IP, etc.) and drop intransportation cost (flights, low cost shipping, etc.)

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