Recognizing and Cultivating Trust: The Primary Driver of Network Impact

The Knowledge Network (or Community of Practice) is a powerful organizational model for organizations to innovate, coordinate, build capacity, and translate ideas rapidly into action. On November 30, 2011 Kate Pugh of AlignConsulting and Columbia University led a Nonprofit Webinar on “knowledge networks.” We introduced recent research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and discussed the six behaviors of an enduring network: common objectives, collaborative behavior, working platform, cohesion, generous connectivity, and trust. More than half of all webinar participants were concerned about the levels of trust in their networks, and the resulting compromised collaboration. What builds trust in a network? What erodes it? What can we design into the network — into its structures, relationships, measures — to build trust and trustworthiness? We’ll look at recent research on the mechanics and science of trust, and look at several case studies of networks where trust translates into volunteerism, innovation, and collaboration. We’ll also revisit each of the 8 network design dimensions with a trust lens.


  • A tale of two networks: What sobering lessons can we take?
  • What does trust look like? What behaviors do we look for? What impacts result?
  • What perspectives on trust have emerged in recent research?
  • What are the dynamics of trust: What builds trust in a network? What erodes trust in a network?
  • How can the eight network design dimensions build or revive trust?

Katrina (Kate) PughKatrina (Kate) Pugh is author of Sharing Hidden Know-How (Jossey-Bass, Wiley, 2011), and is president of AlignConsulting, a firm that helps for-profit and nonprofit organizations plan business and technology change by channeling insight into action. She formerly was VP of Knowledge Management for Fidelity, Senior Technical Program manager for Intel Solution Services, and held leadership roles at JPMorganChase and PwC Consulting/IBM. Kate is on the Advisory Board of Knowledge Management Institute of Canada and Mitokine Bioscience, formerly Concord Academy, and is a lecturer at Columbia University’s Information and Knowledge Strategy Masters’ program.
AlignConsultingAlignConsulting helps organizations channel insight into action. Putting conversation back into the center of strategy and knowledge-transfer, we work closely with our clients to harness untapped knowledge to solve business problems. Whether your organization is experiencing a transition, seeking strategies to accelerate innovation, making knowledge management and social media initiatives more productive, AlignConsulting can help.

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