Awareness of driving forces and barriers may be important to the overall strategic work, as well as decisive for the choice of direction for the network, which again will lead to a new status assessment, and so forth. Regarding tools for developing an overarching strategy, there are a lot to choose among. In this booklet we present tools for the following important strategic areas:

1. What should we pursue? It is important for any network to find out what one can, will and should invest time, money and other resources in.
2. Risk propensity: Again, any network should clarify and analyze their willingness to take risks.
3. Institutional capacity: A network with high institutional capacity have ability to respond to changes in the environment in a constructive way. To have such capacity is a question of life or death for the network. Lock in and fragmentation is an issue.
4. Life cycle: The life cycle illustrates how a network goes through different stages in its life time, e.g. formation, growth, maturation and decline. There can be different challenges related to different stages, therefore it is important to perform a life cycle analysis.

The features presented above are the background for the toolbox described in this booklet. In chapter 2, we present tools for the four strategic areas, and in chapter 3, we put forward tools for each of the seven functions creating the dynamics in a network. To make it easy for the readers, each of the 11 tools are presented in a similar way, using this template:

1. Why is the tool important?
2. What is this tool? (A description of the tool).
3. How do we use this tool? (Practical help with exercises and examples).
4. Cases: Examples from VRI2 and P-IRIS.
5. Connections to other tools: The tools should not be viewed independently of each other. When using one particular tool, it could be smart to consider the relations to other tools. E.g., the degree of willingness to take risk will have impact on what innovations that can be expected.

Bear in mind that this toolbox is about network leadership and development. The tools we present in chapter 2 and 3 can also be use at company level, but we focus on network level. Moreover, we concentrate on the tools, and do not present different leadership styles etc. For those interested, we recommend the practical approaches of Adizes (2011) 4and Cameron & Quinn (2011) 5.

Before we move on to the actual tools, we would like to give some guidance to the readers:
For a busy small business leader, or network leader, or a consultant, it could be difficult to know where and how to start. Therefore, we underline that it is not necessary to start at page 1 and read everything until the last page. Rather, have a glance through the toolbox and stop to read where you find something that interests you. Read about this tool, try the exercises and use the examples to see if this tool can be useful for your network. Discover the connections to other tools, and then explore further.

Happy reading!

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