The Blog

The Value of a Network

BCCIC is a network of organizations and individuals moving toward a better world.


I am often asked to explain the value of a network. Not an easy task given the complexity and abstraction of networking. Organizations are made up of individuals who come together with a united vision to work toward a common goal. Perhaps their interest is in building a school or orphanage; perhaps it is tackling social attitudes or gender inequality. Organizing people is a powerful exercise, and how organizations choose to make these changes varies according to the imaginations, values and ethos of the people who choose to gather together. In this respect, networks can serve complex functions.

If a person wants to change the world and tackle a specific problem, such as eradicating poverty or tackling climate change, they can join an organization and roll up their sleeves. Networks, however, are about finding common ground between these organizations, so when you roll up your sleeves your work is easier, more efficient and complementary to others’. Networks respect the variety of methodologies their organizations might take or the plethora of motivations behind these activities, and they concentrate on how to promote the interests of the sector as a whole.

In this respect, networks are powerful and BCCIC is doing well! We are able to tackle challenges that no individual or even organization can handle alone. When networks gather under a shared ethos, with a broad variety of methodologies and philosophies, we create movements. Movements are hard to destroy, hard to pin down and even hard to locate. We are a bit like waves. On the surface you can see the individual actions of our members and the projects of groups. These are expressed in a myriad of ways, as diverse as the ripples and wavelets on the surface of the ocean. Combined, however, they build into swells and into movements with direction and intention. Underneath there lies a powerful united energy… an energy firmly motivated by change and evolution.

We might convene a social policy roundtable one day or feature a capacity development workshop the next. Perhaps we are in Ottawa promoting the needs of members or encouraging the funding of small and medium sized organizations. Perhaps we are hosting a webinar on the challenges of a pandemic…or fielding phone calls on how to encourage youth participation on the Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations. Every day is different.

If we connect two people or a funder to an organization can we take credit for the outcome? Not really, but without networks these connections don’t happen! Without the trusted deep structures of networks, the surface structure of activities and projects are not so easy to manifest. We are rarely about one issue or one cause but about the amorphous territory between causes and issues that link movements together. We are often in the background, behind the scenes, in between the actions and working on the principles. We address the issue of scales of action and enable the organizations that enable the individuals.

In this regard, BCCIC is a leader in the field of networking. We link people. We link organizations. And most of all we link good ideas in our ever-evolving movement toward a better world. We are grateful to those who understand this and who are with us on this journey. It has been an exciting year and I look forward to what is coming up and serving our members in the coming year. Fasten your seat belts.

Michael Simpson

BCCIC’s Executive Director (2014-2021)