Global Multi-Stakeholder Networks

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Don Tapscott: The network seeks to improve the state of the world by helping to solve a problem, develop new policies or new solutions, influence states and institutions, or otherwise contribute to economic and social development, human rights, sustainability, democracy, global cooperation and global governance." (


See slide 33 at [1].

Details slide 34 to 56.

"A literature review and initial investigation has produced the first comprehensive taxonomy to describe these new networks. We used a functional perspective to identify the different “species” of problem-solving networks. The taxonomy is “comprehensive” in that all networks can be included. The categories are not completely mutually exclusive and any given network may overlap with other networks types. However, any network can be said to fall primarily or principally in one of the categories. Networks can also change. As our collaborator and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) Mark Raymond says, “It is important to bear in mind the possibility that a network’s purpose can shift (say, from knowledge to advocacy, for example) over time.” This is a good topic for further investigation. ”Understanding the conditions under which networks undergo what might be called ‘purpose shifts’ is a key question to understanding their social dynamics”

The 10 categories (also summarized in the chart below) are:

  • Knowledge Networks which develop new thinking, research, ideas and policies that can be helpful in solving global problems. Their emphasis is on the creation of new ideas, not their advocacy.

Ex: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute; Global Network for Women and Children’s Health Research, Habitat Jam, Wikipedia, TED.

  • Operational and Delivery Networks actually deliver the change they seek, supplementing or even bypassing the efforts of traditional institutions.

Ex: Crisis Commons, Kiva,, The Standby Task Force, Digital Democracy, The Red Cross, World Wildlife Fund, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Global Health Program, Medicines for Malaria Venture, The Microcredit Summit Campaign

  • Policy Networks create government policy even though they are not networks of government policy makers.

Ex: The Internet Governance Forum, International Competition Network, The PRI (Principles for Responsible Investment)

  • Advocacy Networks seek to change the agenda or policies of governments, corporations or other institutions.

Ex:, Keep a Child Alive, Conscious Capitalism (advocates to corporations). Hundreds of these networks are listed at World

  • Watchdog Networks scrutinize institutions to ensure they behave appropriately.

Ex: Human Rights Watch, The Environmental Working Group, Amnesty International, The Global Reporting Initiative

  • Platforms create the capability for other networks to organize.

Ex: Ushahidi, Challenge Post,, seToolbelt, Code for America,

  • Global Standards Networks are non-state based organizations that develop technical specifications and standards for virtually anything, including standards for the Internet itself.

Ex: Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), World Wide Web Consortium

  • Governance Networks have achieved or been granted the right and responsibility of non-institutional global governance.

Ex: Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, International Organization of Securities Commissions, Marine Stewardship Council, Forest Stewardship Council, The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme

  • Networked Institutions provide a wide range of capabilities even similar to state-based institutions but with a very different modus-operandi.

Ex: The World Economic Forum, The Clinton Global Initiative, The Global Water Partnership

  • Diasporas are global communities formed by people dispersed from their ancestral lands, but who share a common culture and strong identity with their homeland.

Ex: OneVietnam Network, International Diaspora Engagement Alliance, African Idea Marketplace. " (

More Information

  • Don Tapscott’s whitepaper, Global Solution Networks: Understanding the New Multi-Stakeholder Models for Global Cooperation, Problem Solving and Governance, 2012. [2]