Friday, September 22, 2006

Welcome to our Network!

We had a productive day today, getting our web site up, preparing for our next conference, and accomplishing quite a bit around Jack's dining room table -- proving once again that "a day face-to-face is worth a thousand emails!"

Thanks to Steve Goldberg for stopping by and taking our picture.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Trust Equation 1.0 !

This is a 1.0 version of a formula for measuring trust in relationships. It's intended to use a formula for assessing the complex and intangible dynamic of trust.

It basically says that trust is the multiplication of weighted expectations and delivery on expectations, divided by the multiplication of expectation clarity and usefulness of feedback. It's actually based on intensive work I've done recently in client organizations on trust building between individuals, managers and departments.

And here's the process:

1. In the case of trust between two people, each person lists their 5 top expectations of each other in categories including what they depend on from each other in the areas of information, help, and outcomes. Then for each, they identify on a 1-5 scale (low-high) how important each expectation is to them - this creates a list of weighted expectations. These scores are added for a total weighted expectation score.

2. Then each person assesses how well (again on the 1-5 scale) the other usually delivers on each of these expectations. The scores are totalled for a delivery score. The two numerator scores are then multiplied for a total top number.

3. Then the other person creates the denominator number. If I'm assessing June's performance against my weighted expectations for the numerator of the equation, June is doing the denominator. She assesses on the 1-5 scale how clearly I usually communicate each of these top 5 expectations. Then she assesses on the 1-5 scale, the usefulness of feedback she usually gets from me on her delivery on these expectations. Then these two figures are added for a total and multiplied for my denominator score. I do the same for her denominator score.

4. Then the differences are calculated for a total trust score.

So now we get have a conversation about questions like:

Is there an "ideal" score range?
Are there other variables the formula needs to consider?
If the point of the process is the conversation, how are results best interpreted?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

NOLA Networks

Many people think that all post-Katrina recovery efforts are fragmented and failing. Although many of the formal organizations are falling over each other, and over the debris that is still in the streets, community networks are self-organizing and emerging in New Orleans and elsewhere in the devastated region.

A month ago, I got an email from Sarah who is working with ThinkNOLA. She inquired...

Through the New Orleans Wiki we've documented significant social relationships and organizational connections between board members in the key recovery agencies, both governmental and quasi-governmental. Do you have any suggestions for producing visual representations of this information?

I said, "Sure, put your data into this link/relationship format, send it to me, and I will map it for you." BTW, this is a great use of WIKI technology -- a common place for people to store/edit/update the relationships/flows they find.

We went through several iterations of data and soon had some maps. The network above is a combination of all 8 relationships we mapped. It shows how over 1000 organizations and individuals are connected in various recovery projects.

The NOLA network has grown to the 'multiple hubs' stage that we described in this white paper: Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving [PDF]. ThinkNOLA and their colleagues are examining the first set of maps to see where they are -- who is connected, who is not and who should be. They will then weave the network where necessary.

An iterative process: know the net, knit the net... repeat.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Building Community Through Innovation in Belize or Anywhere

I got an email today from a dear friend who is promoting sustainable development in small remote Mayan villages in Belize. She has done a marvelous job, working with villagers to set up a computer center for the village children (who are now computer wizards!), using donated computers from folks in Athens, Ohio. She's also helped mostly young women in the village set up income generating businesses, gathered up a container full of books from U.S. friends to stock the new high school's library, and helped raise money for disbaled children to get needed operatons. All this while respecting the culture and encouraging local leadership.

Now she is raising funds to set up an Innovation Fund that will encourage people in the villages to initiate small, doable but innovative and collaborative projects for their communities. The projects must match the seed funds with their own labor, and need to include young people and a diversity of villagers. I'm willing to match any donation you make dollar for dollar up to $500.00! To learn more about this delightful project check out Interamerican InterAction's web site. If you send a donation, put "Innovation Fund" on the check so I'll know to match it!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Smart Networks Workshop

Weaving Smart Networks: Building Capacity for Positive Change in Organizations and Communities will be held in Washington, DC on October 12-13, 2006. The workshop is intended people already engaged in change and innovation who want to learn to apply networking strategies to increase the scale and impact of their activities.

For more information, see the full brochure with registration form at Plexus Institute's web site

Jack, June and Valdis will all be participating.

For more information, email or