We believe that building fields in the social change space requires five core activities: Mapping, Naming, Inviting, Structuring, and Executing.  Each of these parts can be thought of independently, though all may be necessary at any given time to move a project forward. They are not employed in chronological order, but rather the results of work in any one area may impact the other four.  We perform these activities informed by how we see connections in a network.

Two things are essential about this methodology:

  1. Its fluidity matches the reality of the social change space.  It captures people with its elegance and resonance with their experience.  And it is the antithesis of a canned process, which creates trust.
  2. It is accessible and useful.  We’ve used it to launch multiple ventures and do field-building work in very different environments, and the components are easily understandable and broadly relevant.
This methodology is also known, to friends, as “the meatball sandwich”:


Criterion Institute, 501(c)(3) 81 Church Hill Rd · Haddam, CT 06438 860-345-3520 (main) · info@criterioninstitute.org ©2023, all rights reserved.

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