Sunday, June 29, 2008

A new blog: T N T

In addition to my blogging here, I am starting a new blog which will expand beyond "network weaving".

The new blog is named: TNT — The Network Thinker...

TNT is focused on "exploding" old concepts and thinking about economies, organizations, communities and groups.

We will focus on new forms of connectivity and emergence in organizational, community, and social networks and how these new structures lead to resilience, adaptability, agility, and innovation.

I invite everyone to join me on TNT and share your views with what is presented. I hope to see the Comments field host many conversations. All opinions welcome! [No Flames, No Spam]

I have removed posts from this blog that did not focus on Network Weaving and moved them over to TNT. Many of my posts remain here and I will continue to post here under the topics of network weaving, economic development, and community building.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Network Maps

You don't need network mapping software to get groups started with Social Network Analysis. All you need is some large chart paper, a few markers and simple instructions. Make sure that the group has a focus for the network--perhaps some project that they are or want to work on. Here are some sample instructions:

First, draw some circle to represent the members of your group. Next add people that you are already working with on a regular basis on this project and draw lines from you to them. If any of them work together, draw lines to connect them. Then add those people you draw on occasionally. Finally, add people you aren't working with now but would like to to increase the success of your project.

Then have the groups explain their maps to the others. It's amazing the insights they unearth! And how quickly they start thinking more explicitly about relationships in their work.

The pictures above show some of the maps that the groups from the Caribbean UN gathering drew. I'm always amazed at the uniqueness of each map.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Caribbean Jewels

Last week I was in Barbados, one of the many island jewels scatted throughout the azure waters of the Caribbean. The United Nations has hired me to network a group of innovative leaders from 10 different countries. Soon after the participants arrived, we had them complete a form asking about their networks. Not surprisingly, we found that few of the attendees knew anyone else there. Time for some serious Network Weaving!

Several times throughout the workshop, we did a simple exercise called Speed Networking. Each individual shared their answers to questions such as "What excites you about learning about networks?" and "What are your dreams for networking people in the Caribbean Region?" with one other person, then took a turn listening to their partner. This way, people built a connection with 4 other people at the workshop so that they could comfortably go up to them during a break and start a conversation.

The best way that I've found to ensure that networks continue after meetings end is to get people working on a concrete project with others who share a common passion. Drawing on Jack's work, I had everyone in the room identify some issue area that they felt could make a huge difference for the region and that they were willing to work on over the coming year. Once the list of 15 dreams was complete, we could see that the opportunities could be grouped into 4 topic areas. These 4 groups then set to work mapping the network they would need to weave if they were to be successful in making things happen and identifying very specific Opportunity Spaces. Over the next two days, each group charted explicit network building steps they would take when they returned home. Now, one week after the session has ended, discussions are continuing online.

June Holley