This exercise can be found on page 20 and 21 in “Toolbox 2.0 for Strategic Leadership of Innovative Networks”. You can download a PDF version of the toolbox here.

Figure 5. Institutional capacity.


Exercise 1: Discuss the degree of path-dependency in your network. What types of path-dependency (lock-in) are relevant, and how do you plan to cope with these obstacles for building institutional capacity?

Exercise 2: Discuss the degree of fragmentation in your network or region. Is this a problem? How do you cope with these obstacles?

Exercise 3: Discuss the relevance of the elements in figure 5 for your network. What are the most important external forces of change? What should be the network’s response to these forces?

Exercise 4: In table 4, four typical situations are described. Where would you place your network? What can be done to maintain or change this situation?

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Weak local capacity (Unbalanced and poorly developed institutional capacity) Strong local capacity (Balanced and well-developed institutional capacity)
Closed networks (Not open to changes as a result of external forces) Path-dependency: The network is not able to handle the forces of change locally. They follow an existing path: “This is how we have always done this – it is good enough for us”. Inertia: The network is not dealing with changes. They use their institutional capacity to avoid developing as consequence of external change forces (“backwardness”).
Open networks (Open to changes as a result of external forces) Fragmentation: There is no local milieu for dealing with external pressure collectively. The technology prone will adapt to the changes while the general community falls behind. Modelling: The network is innovative and has capacity. Local modelling of external. Have and know how to utilise the local institutional capacity to deal with external pressure and to model changes to the local needs. Has the ability to model the response in order to fulfil the needs of the network and members, and to lift the whole group.

We have to see this in connection with the strategic tool “What should we pursue?”. Institutional capacity is the sum of the tools, “knowledge development and establishing flow of knowledge”, “building networks” and “mobilizing resources”, but it also relies on high legitimacy in the network and the ability to “create external benefit”.

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