A training course on “Working with Networks” was organised by Wageningen Business School this autumn.  After the one scheduled in March was cancelled, a sufficient number of nine participants applied for the extra three day course.

 

They were familiarised with the concepts and tools of the FAN approach over two days in September. Over the following weeks they made a Learning History for a network they were involved in, and returned to Wageningen on the 10th of October to discuss their findings.

 

The feedback was interesting:

“The approach provides words to signal what matters,” one person said.

In spite of heavy workloads, most people worked diligently on their Learning Histories. One told that his wife complained he was still elaborating on things during his holiday. Overall appreciation for the course was high, as appeared in the formal WBS evaluation: 4.4 on a scale from 0 to 5.

 

A remarkable number of civil servants participated this time: three from provincial governments, one from a municipality, and two from government agencies.

 

Although the focus of the course is on building networks around initiatives, one participant had hoped to learn more about the skills of networking in the sense of making contacts. When he mentioned this in the last round of comments, another participant gave him some sound advice:

“But that is easy! Suppose you’re visiting a party or a conference. All you have to do is ask questions. ‘Hello. What brings you here? Does your boss support this? No? Tell me about your boss!’ And so on. For sure you have a nice discussion, and perhaps also a new contact.”