Whitepaper: Network Leadership and Practice

A Multi-Year Retrospective on Lessons from the Savory Global Network

Network Leadership and Practice: Lessons from the Savory Global Network

By: Lee Frankel-Goldwater, CU Boulder and Abbey Kingdon-Smith, Savory Institute

This report summarizes findings from a five-year partnership between University of Colorado Boulder researchers and the Savory Global Network team.

The aim of this report is to highlight five key themes around network leadership and practice identified over the course of studying Savory Global Network activities. 

The Savory Global Network, by its leaders’ own definition, is an experiment in rapidly expanding the use of Holistic Management through a grassroots global movement to regenerate the world’s grasslands and shift human consciousness towards honoring our connection with the Earth.

The Savory Global Network is in many ways, a grand experiment. No one has done this before. We don’t have guides or experts to say this is how you create, nurture and grow a global network that is united not just in common interests, but in mission and landing real, meaningful impact.

After five years of this global network journey—which in so many ways mirrors life with new growth and joy, painful losses and deaths, celebrating and sometimes slogging through—the Savory Institute decided it was time to look back and notice the patterns and themes that have emerged across those years, to gather up our learnings, and to share them for the benefit of others. 

So we did.

Lee Finkel-Goldwater is a network researcher and PhD candidate at CU Boulder. Since 2016, he has embedded himself within the Savory Global Network—attending Hub trainings, listening in on calls, and studying the structures, interactions, and impact of this one-of-a-kind network. Together with Abbey Kingdon-Smith, Savory’s Global Network Coordinator, they identified five main themes that emerged over the years.

The five main themes identified are:

  1. 1. Networks can help create a “Sense of Belonging” and “Not Being Alone” while supporting a process of transformative change.
  2. 2. Developing a “Shared Language and Identity” can support productive connection building and serve as foundations for navigating conflict.
  3. 3. Building a “Community of Practice” across a global network can help to support collective action and connections across participants.
  4. 4. Developing “New Supply Chains” for “Economic Revitalization” can be a powerful driver for network participation.
  5. 5. Creating “Place-specific Regional Networks” as part of a larger action network is a relatively untapped pathway for wide-scale change.

Our hope is that this whitepaper—this gathering of our network learnings—helps network leaders not just within the Savory Global Network, but anywhere networks of changemakers come together.

Networks are a new way of organizing ourselves so that we remain equal, we remain free, we speak the same language, and we evolve together. It is the best—perhaps the only—way we will find unity in the face of the massive challenges we face as a species.

Click here to download the whitepaper.

Savory Institute

Savory Institute

The Savory Institute is on a mission to regenerate the grasslands of the world and the livelihoods of their inhabitants, through Holistic Management. Since 2009, Savory Institute has been leading the regenerative agriculture movement by equipping farmers, ranchers, and pastoralist communities to regenerate land within culturally-relevant and ecologically-appropriate contexts.
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