WHAT IS A SOCIAL IMPACT NETWORK?
A social impact network addresses complex social problems, uses its resources to tackle social problems in new ways, requires generative processes (learning, innovation, adaptation) over long periods of time, can move information quickly and widely, can assemble novel and flexible combinations of human talent that would be difficult or impossible to pull together in a single organization, and participants in the network can connect efficiently with many other people.
This is taken from Connecting to Change the World: Harnessing the Power of Networks for Social Impact. Plastrik, Peter et al. 2014.