Design in DBIR can take place within networks of people and organizations. Sometimes, the network crosses political boundaries of districts and communities. The design addresses problems common to many districts or communities, and the network members seek to learn from implementation variation across sites.

Designing in distributed networks is a strategy for realizing a commitment to collaborative, iterative design, the second principle of DBIR. When design also aims to “get better at getting better” as part of a networked improvement community, this strategy also helps build capacity for sustaining change in systems, the fourth principle of DBIR.