End of September the Château de Prangins organised in its parc the traditional Déjeuner sur l’herbe et marchéà l’ancienne. The event is inspired by the costumes and traditions of the Belle Époque. Staff and guests were dressed up. Visitors in jeans and shirts who felt like getting a real Belle Époque feeling could join the time travellers and change into corsets, long skirts, frock coats, bowler hats and leather gloves. In the extravagant historical fashions the fans of the Belle Époque became easily visible among the many guests.
Two days a later I was facilitating a workshop making use of a sketch-based creativity technique. The group generated ideas how to strengthen the institutional thematic networks. A colleague came up with the idea to dress the network members in a special uniform to make their membership visible. The idea was rather crazy and we had a good laugh imaging the building full of dressed up network members.
Earlier this year another colleague told me: What if we could hear the networks’ members twittering while we enter the building in the morning? I found the idea refreshing. Imagine, you enter your organisation’s building with bird songs; everywhere colourful twittering. What a start into the day, what a strong signal that the networks are busy and alive. The idea made me smile.
Being seen, being heard, being noticed. Visibility matters for institutional networks. It’s message and a signal.
Being seen, being heard, being noticed means reaching out to new people and marking the networks’ existence. Active, dynamic, vibrant networks are noisy. The members drive the conversation that is heard beyond the network’s boundaries. The knowledge flows in and out and contributes to the organisational learning.
Luckily we don’t need uniforms nor do we have to start singing to make our networks and network activities visible:
- We use stories to narrate and share our network-time. And we do this whenever the moment is given, in informal contacts, during meetings, in reports etc.
- We give feedback and ask for feedback on network events we attend or we know colleagues went to.
- We feed our blogs and newsletters accessible to a wider public and spread the word on what we do.
Noisy networks are noticed. Active networks are noisy.