OLW’s Common Agenda: Our ‘Net’-work
Zany pipe-cleaner glasses, holiday beverages & general silliness! These all framed a lil’ OLW holiday get-together in December last year. Together, we peered through our zoom screens and imagined how member organizations can work together to re-energize OLW’s common agenda!

What is this new optic and where is it coming from?

We did some big learning at OLW in 2023!

  1. At the end of the last fiscal year, our annual survey reflected the Network’s state of health and showed where there is room for improvement.
  2. In the spring, OLW staff took time to read and reflect on networks as solutions to complex and challenging issues.
  3. In the midst of OLW’s director transition last fall, Taylor (former Network Facilitation Lead) and I (Rebekah, Network Communications Lead) took an international course on healthy network member engagement. As part of our homework, or ‘net’-work 😉, we reached out to a number of member organizations for some informal feedback. We heard that OLW needs to offer new ways for members to engage and clarify what these are. There’s also a resounding call for an in-person Network convening to stoke engagement.
  4. Finally, we know that our common agenda is ingrained in OLW’s Shared Measurement System (SMS), which tracks our progress towards all waters in Canada in good health by 2030. The SMS hasn’t been updated recently, so it’s a bit stale!

So what comes next?

We are taking one step at a time toward refreshing and re-energizing our common agenda. As a team, we’re working to provide more opportunities to connect through zesty zoom rooms, and we’re taking the time to listen to member organizations. We’ll also be hiring a new Network Engagement Lead to spearhead this work!

Moving forward, we’ll be mindful that our staff role is to enable. We’re responsible for connecting and convening or ‘net-tending’, uplifting member organizations as the ‘net-doers’. Ultimately, OLW will thrive best when members help lead engagement.

OLW’s Network Weaving Strategy

We’re currently drafting a Network Weaving Strategy and connecting with member organizations for more feedback. Our new Network Engagement Lead will iteratively co-create and implement the Strategy alongside Network members.

The new Strategy includes a proposed structure to position members along different ‘Stages of the Member Journey’ as Supporters, Partners, Co-creators and Water Champions. In this way, we hope OLW can serve diverse needs and acknowledge varied capacities, accompanying members on their journey and celebrating their contribution at each stage. In your opinion, does this model reflect OLW’s diversity? Where would you place your organization?!

Stages of the Member Journey

Stages_of_the_Member_Journey.png   Member Role Network Role
Supporters Contribute to & support national common agenda OLW amplifies messages across Network & beyond
Partners Largely external to Network collaborations, stay informed about OLW’s work & may amplify if relevant OLW stays informed about member’s work, amplifies when relevant & aligns messaging when helpful
Co-Creators Participate in impactful Network collaborations OLW builds trust, monitors alignment & capacity, provides container for multiplying member’s impacts & mobilizing knowledge
Water Champions Lead impactful Network collaborations, create birds-eye view of national waterscape OLW multiplies member’s impacts & messaging by providing a national container to influence


Let’s take responsibility together for OLW’s ‘net’-work because we know healthy waters depend on all of us!

As always, if you have feedback, please reach out.

Rebekah Kipp
About Rebekah Kipp
Network Communications Lead, Our Living Waters: mother, freshwater champion, beachcomber, and origami enthusiast
OLW’s Common Agenda: Our ‘Net’-work
OLW’s Common Agenda: Our ‘Net’-work
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: