Join us: Largest international Net-Mapper meeting ever!

Wouldn’t it be great if Net-Mappers from all over the world could share their experience, learn from each other, build a common knowledge-base and just hang out and enjoy each other’s company? You might be working with Net-Map in your university, organization, consulting practice and maybe you are the only one excited by the participatory drawing of networks. Or, maybe a lot of your colleagues are excited, but they all have no clue how it really works, so you always have to be (or look like) the expert who knows everything. I am sure you have some great stories, lessons and results to share and together we might find the answers to your questions.

We (that’s Eva Schiffer, Jennifer Hauck, Amit Nag, Paolo Brunello and our Net-Mapping friends) are planning to have the biggest international meeting of Net-Mappers at the next Sunbelt Conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis in Brighton, UK (June 23rd to 28th, 2015). In addition to hosting one (or two) sessions which will be dedicated to applying network knowledge, we are planning to host a Net-Mapper get-together as informal side-event of the conference so that we can all get to know each other and each other’s work and start working together more closely.

We will discuss whatever questions are at the forefront of our minds. For me there are three things I am really curious about:

  • Learning more about all the great applications of the method to start having an extensive case collection.
  • Strategies for working together to make Net-Map interventions happen and grow the community of practice. This could lead to developing a database of international Net-Map consultants so if any of us wants to implement something that is bigger than one person, we know where to go.
  • Asking and answering questions about how to use and analyze Net-Map, moving the method forward and understanding it better.

To make this happen we need you. And you. And your net-mapping colleague too. If you are interested, please contact me directly. And submit an abstract for the Sunbelt Conference session on applying network knowledge.

Oh, and did I say that this is just the side-event? The main event is also pretty amazing. Sunbelt is the largest Social Network Analysis conference and it’s an great mix of the old gurus, the young geniuses, master’s students getting feedback for their half-done thesis, and everything in-between. Also, they have great hands-on introductory workshops on most of the common SNA software and approaches (including a Net-Map training) during the first two days of the conference. If you have never submitted an abstract to a conference and the task intimidates you, I am happy to talk you through it. And, surey, you can also come just as a participant, without presentation… but we would all be missing out, if you didn’t share your work. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Guiding your network weaving: Net-Map training in DC (June 27-28)

ImageAt our trainings you dive into using Net-Map in your own context pretty quickly. Last fall one of our participants actually took a break from the map he was drawing because it made him realize that he had to make a few phone calls to some key influencers that he had not been quite aware of. And he had to do that RIGHT NOW. So while he continued learning more about Net-Map through the training he had already kicked off powerful network weaving in his home county to save jobs and keep major local employers from moving out of the county. Experiences like this give me goosebumps. How mapping out formal and informal networks, seeing them in front of you, can give you new insights about problems that you have obsessed about for ages…

If you want to spend two days with us in DC, learning how to map actors, connections, goals and influence levels and how Net-Map can inspire transformational changes in a question you are passionate about, secure one of the remaining spots in our June training.



Become an expert Net-Map facilitator: Next training in DC June 27-28

influence towers from sideWe are are planning 2 Net-Map workshops in Washington DC this year. There are some more workshops planned in other parts of the world (e.g. Kenya in May)– so stay tuned. And, if you are interested in a workshop catered to your organization and at your location, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The next workshop in DC is scheduled for June 27-28. So please mark the dates. This is a two day workshop in which you learn the basics of how to use Net-Map to improve your ability to understand and navigate personal and professional networks. The workshop will have a strong focus on learning-by-doing and you will be able to bring your own questions and map them out.

The location is George Washington University. Please sign up here

New Year’s Resolution: This year I won’t take the caterpillar approach to personal growth

New Year's Resolution: This year I won't take the caterpillar approach to personal growth

I cannot fly! I know that from experience!

Net-Map training: Learn to map your career or torture networks…

drawing informal linksThe most interesting aspect of teaching Net-Map is that our participants bring their own cases to map, so that they can learn how to apply the method to their own problems. And I have had participants mapping torture networks in a South East Asian country (to improve the effectiveness of an anti-torture campaign) and I have seen many different versions of: “Who will influence that I achieve my career goals?” or, even more personal: “Who will influence that I am happy more often and unhappy less often?”. If you join us for our November 15th-16th training, it’s up to you: What are the burning, confusing, exciting and/or painful issues that you want to clarify, where you want to become more strategic and understand the major bottlenecks and opportunities? And yes, in the process you will learn all the nuts and bolts of the method and become a member of our growing community of practice. A few spots are still available. The training will be held at a beautiful event space in the Eastern Market area of Washington, DC. All the details are here and you can sign up here.

Next Net-Map Training: November 15-16

Registration is closed for this Net-Map training workshop.  Please email my colleague ‘Amit’ to notify you on the next workshop dates – amitaksha(at) gmail (dot) com

Image Mark your calendar for our next two day Net-Map training workshop in Washington, DC, on Friday the 15th and Saturday the 16th of November.

Registration is open now. Look here for details and sign up.

If you have any problems please send an email to my colleague and co-trainer Amit Nag  at amitaksha(at)gmail(dot)com.

Net-Map training – 2 spots remaining!

If you are one of those eternal procrastinators (yes, you know who you are) and were thinking about joining us for the Net-Map training in August, this is your last gentle nudge. Two spots remaining, then our group is complete. We have a great mix of participants already, the furthest traveller will come here from Australia, we will have some researchers and some who want to use Net-Map in a very practical way to help groups achieve their goals. Some have initial experience with network analysis or Net-Map, others are just excited to learn it from scratch. Maybe our group is still missing the special contributions and confusions only you can bring…

I love being a small fish

File:Barracuda with prey.jpg

When I work with people who know nothing about network analysis… (picture copyright Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary)

Next week I’ll be a very small fish – at the annual conference of the International Network of Social Network Analysis in Hamburg, Germany. In my daily life I am THE social networks expert, because all my colleagues have different areas of expertise. So I can be comfortable, relax and feel like a social networks barracuda. Most of the questions my colleagues ask I can answer and they wouldn’t even know if I made something up (just as I wouldn’t know if they did in their area of expertise).

But at the Sunbelt conference, different story. I am looking forward to listening to talks that will really really stretch my brain, even to the feeling of: “This is brilliant (I think…) but I have no idea what he is talking about and how you could apply this in the real world as I know it.” And, while it might not be the most pleasant feeling, I am also eager to have participants in my Net-Map training, listening to my talk, who can ask me the tougher questions, who can call me out and would know exactly if I don’t know the answer… I spend most of my time as an implementer and change agent, using network stuff where and as it works for me – but with the goal of changing the world, not of creating perfect data sets for scientific analysis. That means, often it’s more important that the results are delivered fast, that they matter, that they are understandable, than that they could be published in a peer reviewed journal. But it’s easy to use this as an excuse for being lazy, in your work or intellectually. And that’s why it is so good, every once in a while, to be a very small fish in a very big pond…

More realistic picture of my position in the Social Network Analysis food chain (picture copyright by Bernie Gunn)

Join us for a 2 day Net-Map training in Washington, DC

Solve sticky problems while learning Net-Map

Solve sticky problems while learning Net-Map

Spend two days with us, learning the basics of Net-Map, drawing maps of real cases that come from your personal or professional experience, learning to facilitate and read a Net-Map and earn a level 1 Net-Map certificate. We are still in the process of finalizing date and location, but if you want to make sure you are invited, send my colleague Amit Nag an email ( to put you on our list!

Discovering hidden influencers that make or break project success

Beyond the org. chart: Conflict and personal friendships influencing innovation

“It’s time to re-invent management. You can help!”

That’s how the Management Innovation Challenge is introduced on their website, and I though: “Well, if you think so, I’ll help…” So together with my colleague Michael Lennon I contributed a Hack that describes how you can use Net-Map as an easy and approachable tool to discover hidden influencers.  How do you teach people on all levels of an organization how to effectively navigate the “people aspect” of achieving your goals?

If you are a regular reader (or even fan???) of this blog, you know what I’m talking about. If not, it’s a rather brief read. But whether new to Net-Map or experienced Net-Mapper yourself, head over to

Look at what we have to say and give us some love by rating our hack and commenting on it.

Oh, and beyond this shameless self-promotion I’d also recommend you go there and read what everybody has to say. Some amazing contributions, all bundled under such inspiring moon shots as:

  • Humanize the language of business
  • Capture the advantage of diversity
  • Make direction setting bottom-up and outside-in
  • Build natural, flexible hierarchies.