Phase 3: Build
What It Is
The Build phase is the time to prepare for action. In this phase, the network—now larger and growing—develops interconnected strategies and initiatives for catalyzing social norm change. Relationships deepen and energy builds, as the network self-organizes into project teams—harnessing the learning, conversations, and momentum from the first two phases to inspire creativity and inform decision making. Each team designs campaigns/actions—both peer-driven and intergenerational—based on where they feel they can have the most influence. They then go on to build the plans, skills, and knowledge for bringing those ideas to fruition.
Why It’s Important
As teams create and experiment together to design their campaigns/actions, the network begins to innovate and feel the synergistic strength of the whole. Network members of all backgrounds contribute their talents to the effort—either through providing training or, more often, through supporting others in learning by doing. Everyone has the opportunity to become a learner again to acquire the knowledge and skills for implementing their ideas. Through it all, people are collaborating and sharing leadership, all to advance a vision they now hold deeply.
How It Works
What’s Happening to the Network
In the Build phase, the opportunities for participation in the network become more extensive and personalized, as network members engage in project teams that align with their interests and skills. People’s strengths and talents are called upon more and more often. The cross-pollination of expertise expands as other community members are drawn in to provide needed knowledge and skills, often becoming network members themselves.
Keep in mind that network members have been living with the same social norms they are seeking to change. As network members become more comfortable with one another and begin to work together with greater intensity, subtle or overt biases may emerge that were not evident before, including homophobia, sexism, racism, and adultism. Intervene with skilled facilitation when issues arise in relation to the values and intersectional analysis underlying the approach. Have critical conversations with individuals and/or create a space to process challenging dynamics as a group. With each cycle of the approach, the network will deepen its culture and capacity for handling these situations, helping people join, real and raw, in beloved community to talk through differences and about the values and beliefs that will drive the work forward.