Case study EPA: (Net-)Mapping Your Way to Action ( by Paul Boos)

You might need more than this to navigate hierarchical sensibilities (picture by Calsidyrose, flickr)

Paul Boos learned Net-Map when I facilitated a session at the Society for Organizational Learning (SOL) and even though I rushed them through the activity and we didn’t have much time to go into details, he immediately picked it up and started using it for strategic planning in his work environment. And what’s even more exciting, he did achieve some goals that he might otherwise have missed AND he wrote it all up in a 4 page case study for us to learn from it.

Paul and his colleagues are involved in the labeling of pesticides at the Environmental Protection Agency. Currently the pesticide producers who apply for registration send PDF documents with the contents to the EPA, somebody has to type these into a document and follow up if the initial PDF doesn’t actually fit the requirements. Pauls group asks: Wouldn’t it be nice if the pesticide producer could type in discrete data elements following a turbo tax-like interview process and spit out a controlled label that meets the rules?

For someone who stands outside of government hierarchies like me it’s easy to say: Yes! Go for it! But we all know that having a good idea and getting approval from the right people in a hierarchical organization are two very different things and figuring out who to ask when and how can make all the difference. Through Net-Mapping Paul and his colleague realized which leaders had to be involved in the process early so that they don’t get miffed and don’t feel disrespected. They came up with 8 concrete networking steps they needed to take and achieved at least a partial success, as you can read here: Net-Map Case Study EPA pesticides.

As you will see in the case study, Paul is strongly involved in the Agile Software Development movement which promotes iterative, open and crowd sourcing approaches to software development and I will have the pleasure to play around with Net-Map with them at their Agile Coach Camp’s Games Day, 23 September, 2011 in Columbus Ohio.

Have you used Net-Map in your work? Send me your case study and let’s build this community of practice together!

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