Book ‘Energising Networks’

‘Energising Networks’ by Eelke Wielinga and Sjoerd Robijn offers language and tools for what you somehow know but never formulate as such. For what is crucial to make collaboration fruitful. Everyone knows the importance of energy flows between people. But when it comes to management or stimulating initiatives, this is navigating in unexplored areas.

The book contains theory: what is this energy exactly? It contains philosophy: if the narratives people collectively believe in do not generate effective responses to the major challenges of our time, what could be the unifying alternative? And it offers language and tools for practice, to recognise where energy is flowing or not, and to identify options to act for increasing ‘vital space’ between people. Because, if there is energy, the network can achieve a lot.  Networks are taken in a broad sense: knots that are connected form a network. Literally, but also between people. Clubs, teams, organisations and societies: these are all networks.

The Dutch version of the book was published in 2018 by Scriptum, Schiedam. In 2019 it received two nominations for the best management book of the year.

Wielinga, H.E., Robijn, S. (2020): Energising Networks: tools for co-creation.  Wageningen Academic Publishers.

Tools to Navigate

The FAN tools provide insights into network patterns and offers possible interventions. Our approach helps you to navigate in unknown areas. The tools and methods support you to focus on the energy in the network. Because, if there is energy, lots of things become possible.

About us

Netwerk & Co is a group of independent facilitators specialised in helping professionals to vitalise the sometimes complex networks they work in. We work mainly in the field of agriculture, sustainability and local communities.  This could be local or national networks focussing on innovation in agriculture or networks enhancing transition in energy or climate issues. It could also be networks in the health sector or a group volunteers passionate about greening their neighbourhood. Want to know more? Contact us!

Our approach

Assume you have an initiative and  you need others to join you. Or suppose you assist a network of people who share an ambition to change something or to work on an innovation. What can you do to bring your initiative further?

Our work is based on The FAN approach developed by Eelke Wielinga. FAN stands for Free Actors in Networks. Healthy networks require at least one ‘free actor’: someone who walks the extra mile to connect people and make the network work, regardless a mandate. Seemingly abstract concepts, such as energy, connection, and communication, are made tangible. The FAN approach emerged from a large-scale experiment with networks of Dutch livestock farmers. For more background on our approach:  Toolsfornetworkers

Characteristics of networks

Networks can be understood as living organisms. In this way, they may be more or less healthy. Staying healthy is not something that will just happen, it is something the needs energy and effort from all participants and delicate ‘relationships management’ from the Free Actor. Our approach offers concepts and language to reflect on crucial factors often ignored in contemporary management culture: energy and connection.