Shake ’em…

SID_1Imagine putting 60 people in a box and shaking it like crazy. Then you walk away and have no idea what will happen next.

That’s the feeling I had after an exciting Net-Mapping session with a group of development and knowledge management professionals at our SID workshop last Tuesday. I had warned the participants beforehand that the experience would be like ordering a great 5 course meal and any time the waitress comes with another course, she will set the plate down, let you try a few bites and run back to the kitchen to bring the next course before you even really appreciated the one in front of you. Squeezing a presentation (10.4 MB) and a practical Net-Map experience in 1 1/2 hours meant that we had to do a lot of squeezing…

So I was amazed at how well it worked. We had everyone sit around tables of six, one person would volunteer a real or fictional case and the rest would be the interviewers, asking the questions of:

  • Who is involved (write it on actor cards and distribute on map)
  • How are they linked (define and draw formal and informal links in different colors)
  • What are their goals (note next to actor card)
  • How influential are they (add influence towers to actor cards)

SID_2Then I let my inner drill sergeant take over and moved the group through these steps in less than an hour. At the end I asked every table to formulate the one most interesting or surprising thing they learned through this exercise:  Some participants talked more about the method and it’s possible applications, others talked about the way they had gathered a new understanding of a burning problem they face in their work situation or the political landscape of their field, but everyone seemed to have gotten some new insight out of it.

But in this short and intense period of time, there wasn’t enough space and focus to be able to look at the individual cases in more detail and as we rushed through the learning experiences of each table, there was a lot left unsaid. So, as I said, I felt like shaking this whole room full of people with no idea what this will lead to… I’m curious to hear if any of the ideas that people got during the exercise or after having slept on it, will grow into something…

SID_3(all pictures by SID Washington, more here)

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