Editor’s Note: on Tuesday, PublicCEO alerted our readers to a piece by the California Civic Innovation Project that argues for strengthening personal networks among local government agencies in CA. The report below offers practical recommendations on accomplishing just that.

Originally posted at the New America Foundation.
By Rachel Burstein.

Screen shot 2013-08-27 at 2.37.17 PMIn April 2013 the California Civic Innovation Project released a report, The Case for Strengthening Personal Networks in California Local Governments, highlighting the important role of knowledge sharing in the diffusion of innovations from one city or county to another, and identifying personal connections as a significant source of information when it comes to learning about and implementing innovations.

Based on findings from CCIP’s previous study, Creating Networked Cities makes recommendations on how local government leaders, professional associations, and foundation professionals might promote and improve knowledge sharing through developing, strengthening and leveraging their networks. Strong local government networks support the continual sharing and advancement of projects, emerging practices, and civic innovation.

In developing the recommendations for this report CCIP worked closely with multiple small stakeholder groups, like the Institute for Local Government’s Board of Directors and Marin County’s Innovation team, to present findings from the knowledge sharing study and solicit recommendations for strengthening knowledge sharing and networks among local governments.

Based on feedback from practitioners and CCIP’s research, several primary recommendations in the report focus on the importance of face-to-face meetings in establishing trust and building relationships. Once relationships are established and communication channels opened it is imperative that ideas and emerging practices be adapted and scaled depending on the size of the locale and the resources available. From lobbying Sacramento to partnering with elected officials to growing foundation funding, the report suggests recommendations for increasing resources and support for the adoption of new approaches within local government. And lastly, the report offers numerous case studies from public and private sectors that offer practical examples of the recommendations put into practice.

Download CCIP’s recommendations for strengthening local government networks and diffusing innovation here or view below.

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