For initiatives that are ready to operationalize their values, we support you to co-design your own governance systems that are fit for purpose, context, goals, and culture. 

To help social innovators and systems change agents reshape governance systems in line with core values, Circle Forward developed the Network Governance Design Canvas.

This Design Canvas sets up a framework for providing clarity to how we function in networks. 

Through coaching and co-design Circle Forward helps networks understand their options in these naturally non-hierarchical collective impact networks.

Now, we’re offering leaders and social innovators in collaborative networks and co-ops the tools and support to design their own collaborative governance systems — so they can achieve equity, transparency, and forward momentum in their operations. 


  • Groups that refer to themselves as a coalition, alliance, collective, cooperative, colab, or network. 
  • Small collective impact backbone teams supporting 40-100+ organizations that are all connected.
  • Coalitions who care about Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, but are unsure how to operationalize these values. 
  • Anyone who wants to increase their transparency through visualizing and co-designing an adaptive governance structure. 
  • Networks who are looking for support unique to your network, not a pre-packaged approach, step-by-step training, or simple linear process.
  • Alliances who have seen hierarchical structures fail them, struggled to make horizontal structures effective, and know there has to be a better way to organize and execute for change.
Overview of Collaborative Governance Co-Design

Using the Design Canvas as both a compass and a container we help you

  • Produce a toolkit for decentralized decision-makers to access and share with transparency.  
  • Codify your tools and processes for emergent strategy, and for decentralized teams to communicate and coordinate as parts of a coherent whole.
  • Integrate multiple “ways of knowing” into the design of participatory evaluation systems, transforming the understanding of what is possible, what is good strategy, and how to approach the work.
  •  “Make the invisible visible” by mapping and visualizing the structures that are currently in place, so they can be explicit and easily understood. Then we coach you to “see” the possibilities for the next iteration of “just enough structure,” that will support equity, shared leadership, and transparency. 
  • Make decisions about communication and engagement platforms that bring decentralized structures to life.
Collaborative Governance Co-Design supports you in operating within your values and…
  • Provides a deeper level of transparency. 
  • Addresses power and equity.  
  • Produces governance structures that adapt as your network develops and grows.
  • Allows you to optimize for inclusion and forward momentum.
  • Experience the full benefits of cross sector collaboration.

Wondering if collaborative governance co-design could work in your context?  Contact us.

We’d love to hear about your work.

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