Sometimes people ask me what situation you can use Net-Map in and the answer is, honestly, any situation where you have multiple actors with various goals and different formal and informal links that are somehow involved. So I sometimes end up facilitating group sessions where everybody but me is an expert on the issue and my job is mainly to give them the structure and stay out of the way.
That gives me this strange feeling that is very similar to my occasional dreams of flying. I have asked a lot of people about their flying dreams and people dream-fly in many different ways, so let me tell you, how I fly: I fly close to the ground, it’s like diving with fins on your feet and being able to breathe normally. So, when I facilitate a Net-Map session that is not in my area of expertise, I am just slightly detached, flying, but still close enough to see that wonderful things happen in the group. Because even if they have lost me content-wise, it is still obvious from the group dynamics and excitement that they have great learning experiences, major breakthroughs or cleared up long lasting misunderstandings.
I enjoy my dreams of flying and I am thrilled by the way Net-Map works, even if the facilitator is just the method master and all content and passion for a solution comes from the group. But I also love to stand with both feet firmly on the ground and sometimes it is so important to remember what it is all about and not just think of actors and links and structural incentives for performance or corruption etc. I’m involved in a number of public health and nutrition projects at the moment and this morning I did some reading around about these issues, stumbled about this article about plumpy’nut and was reminded what it’s all about: Feeding babies in Africa (in this case). Or at least, as I am not going to move my kitchen back to Africa any time soon: Helping people who want to feed babies in Africa do it better.