Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Harnessing the Power of Social Networks

In professional settings, personal and professional connections flourish from the myriad of everyday interactions between persons. These networks often present opportunities for knowledge sharing, that when tapped into and harnessed may significantly influence personal or institutional growth. This has certainly been the case for us at Strathmore University when it came to the African Universities' Research Approaches (AURA) programme.

Responding to the AURA call for applications


We are the institutional leads from the university Research Office and Academic and Student Affairs office for the AURA programme.  We received news concerning the AURA call for applications from our personal contacts in one of the public universities who had directly received documentation on this call. The pressure to submit a competitive application within the short timeframe available to our team, demanded drawing upon internal professional allies in order to meet the quality as well as the tight deadline for the call. Our team made an effort to contact the consortium to clarify submission deadlines and the feedback encouraged us to prioritize submitting to the call. So from the start of the process, the connections and networks we were able to draw on were key to Strathmore becoming a Phase 1 partner for the AURA programme.  The major contributing factors were the source of information from the external networks and the fact that we were able to draw from internal support.

Conclusion


Networking opportunities present a potential for personal and social growth through information sharing.  However, the availability of such information from these networks is in itself not sufficient to convert potential opportunities into real programmes of work. The role of internal relationships and capacity is crucial too. This experience demonstrates why practitoners, researchers, and faculty members are wise to maintain good working relationships and active participation in external networks.

Stephen Ng’ang’a and Cavin Opiyo are based at Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya.


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