First Net-Map Certification Training in Canada (June 20 and 21st)

Disentangling complex influence networks, improving stakeholder engagement, developing personal networking strategies, fostering positive team dynamics or understanding why your technically sound plan failed dramatically: these are just a few things Net-Mappers do with pen, paper and toys. The tool has been used by fortune 500 companies to understand their business relationships and overcome organizational development hurdles on the one end of the spectrum, and by researchers and development projects to improve community engagement in Africa or understand which illicit influencers block important tax reform projects.

We have had a steady flow of Canadians coming to our trainings in DC and finally two of them are saying “That’s it! Let’s take this home!” Certified Net-Mappers Stephen Sillet and Jennifer Jimenez of Aiding Dramatic Change in Development have joined forces with Amit Nag, long-time DC Net-Map trainer and developer of the DataMuse Influence Mapping App, to offer a two day certification training in Toronto (June 20 – June 21st). Find all the details here.

A few spaces are still open, and the easiest way to sign up is via this blog. Just click below. As you can see, we have listened to our participants, who have asked us to reduce the price for self-paying individuals and students, to make this training as accessible as possible.

During this training you will be the first cohort to be introduced to the new Influence Mapping App, which is designed to allow non-geeks to intuitively enter, visualize, play with and share data generated from the paper Net-Maps. Amit is currently in Togo, West Africa, and doing the first field tests with local consultants, who say that: “It’s just a click and it’s fun. Intuitive, visual, no training required. It’s great how anyone can use it and just play around with it.”

(If you have ever tried to learn one of the standard network analysis software packets, I would guess – drawing from my own experience – that those were not your feelings on the first day…)

So, join our great team of trainers in Toronto and start untangling your own networks.

To register for the workshop please contact Amit at, or Stephen at

For innovation: Amplify the low signal


Crow brings the daylight, by Ruth Meharg

My work often involves getting familiar with a new country and sector in a short amount of time, discussing challenges with many different stakeholders and together developing and implementing strategies for change.

One skill which is crucial for this is the ability to detect patterns quickly, understand what the common themes are, the issues, people, strategies and conflicts which are mentioned again and again. What is the shared story on which we can build our planning? What are the loudest and most consistent signals?

However, one great risk when listening for the common pattern is that you distill the story that everybody knows already and focus on the issues that everybody agrees are THE issues. If you want to help people discover new possibilities, experiment with new solutions, discover the positive deviants that exist already, you have to grow a third ear which listens for things that are only said in passing (or not at all), for ideas that people laugh about or don’t dare believe in, for challenges that cannot be discussed out in the open and sometimes you have to be the one who mentions that the emperor might have forgotten to get dressed…

But how do you know what is an interesting low signal and what is just plain noise?

I tend to pick up a number of different half-sentence ideas as I travel through the system and then I try them out when I talk to the next person. Many of the ideas don’t make it to the third or forth discussion but every once in a while, the next person says: “Well, I hadn’t thought about that but now that you say it…” and they start adding weight, color, texture and context to this idea.  And slowly a new door opens, a different approach emerges or we develop a clearer understanding of a long overlooked risk.

Amplifying a low signal is something I could never do alone, it is rather that I start bouncing these signals off other people and see if they disappear or become stronger.