This is a global public good – or: the more, the merrier…

Patrice Chollet asks in his comment, whether he can adapt and use Net-Map in his training for small enterprises to become aware of the potential of collaborative work to further their development. He writes:

“I found a reference to Net-Map last month and have been impressed by the structure and potential of the toolkit as a means to get people to discuss potentially difficult issues over an indisputable framework. I see a great opportunity to transpose it for use within a non-commercial forum that I am participating in, that is called (New Business Energy – La Nouvelle Energie du Business in French).

So my question is: to what extent would you authorize me to refer to your work and use the principles of the Net-Map toolkit for a networking seminar that we are organizing in July in France?”

The answer is YES, YES, YES, that is exactly what I want you to do. Use Net-Map where-ever you can. Refer people to where they can learn more about it. Point out that I love comments and case studies for this blog. Write up your experience and send it to me. Let’s work on forming a lively community of practice around Net-Map. And don’t hesitate to ask about details.

5 Responses

  1. I was delighted to learn about this tool through Dr. Van Cotthem’s desertification blog

    My work involves dealing with lots of different infrastructures and bureaucracies at the micro and macro levels. I also connect various infrastructures.

    Net-map is precisely what I visualize as soon as I walk into a meeting, confronted with a new task, planning strategically, etc..

    I had a funny though the other day about why I’m able to fluidly understand so many different infrastructures. I was thinking about birth order and the idea that oldest children tend to be leaders. Well, I excel at my job because I’m the opposite in many ways.

    I’m the youngest in the family (immediate and extended), so I’ve spent my whole life being not very concerned about my place in hierarchies since I was by birth born into the bottom. So rather than get involved in useless power plays I learned to observe people, figure out who does what, who has what, who to ask for something, when to ask for something, and so on..

    Just the other day I was talking to a group of friends about my work and without knowing it I was explaining net-map.

    BRAVO, it is a very intuitive tool! Absolutey brilliant!

  2. Thanks Ji-Young, this is a very interesting entry point for a lot of thoughts. I am the middle-born in my family and I always felt that this gave me the natural pre-conditioning for becoming a broker (between groups, communities of thought, cultures, organizations), because I always spent my time being “in between”. If you want to add a case study to this blog, please have a look at the case studies we have and see if you can / want to write something up and share it to enrich the discussion.

  3. Actually, I do have a few cases I’m working in which I’ll implement net-map. I’ll look at the case studies to see if they’re relevant here.

    Interesting that you mention being “in between”, because I prefer to function without getting into the “middle of the mix”. So, I’ve chosen facilitating jobs that don’t require me to be so centrally involved within a network. On the other hand, I am “in between” networks and infrastructures.

    I grew up bilingual and multicultural. I always thought that gave me “a natural pre-conditioning for becoming a broker”. Besides birth order, there are other ways we are conditioned to be “in between”. Interesting line of though you opened up for me.

    When I am working inside a network at the micro level I usually choose “singers” to work with. Strategically, I find it to be more time and resource efficient for what I do.

    Because of the capacities in which I work I often bypass the interview portion. I get a running list of titles and than observe how they function. For me substitute “interview” with observation at this phase. The interview process for me begins with “the singers”.

    I read your post about how it feels. I have to say that I admire you. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that. It feels like stripping off too many layers of clothing.

    You asked, “How can we get to a discussion that acknowledges that there are many different roles in a network and that more links aren’t necessary always better?”

    I’m not sure. The power of a visual aid is really strong, how many words do we have to spend to explain that more connections doesn’t necessarily mean better? Or can another visual aid do this for us? Something to think about…

  4. Dear Eva,

    Thanks ever so much for your kind reply and encouragements. We are planning to use Net-Map on a case study to first learn together how to use the tool and then apply it to help think about how to implement some concepts relating to massive collaboration in the entreprise (some have dubbed such concepts as Entreprise 2.0).

    In this new paradigm of a working environment, people, their informal knowledge and skills and their relational network are key to the development and success of both the entreprise and the individuals who work for and with it.

    Our seminar will take place on July 19 et 20th in Coux, Ardèche, France. I’ll make sure I send you a feed back on lessons learned and insights gained using Net Map!

    Thanks again for pointing this road to us and for your willingness to share your wonderful experience.



  5. Dear Patrice,
    I believe you had a look at the Net-Map training slide show that I have posted in the “about” section. If you are interested in the ppt version, so that you can adapt it to your needs, please send me an email to, so that we can discuss further. I would be thrilled, if you could share any of your translations with us.

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