Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a powerful tool to build and strengthen networks. By recording data about the connections between individuals, we can (a) visualize and measure the connectivity of a network as it is today and (b) identify the potential for new connections and collaborations that increase the capacity and resilience of the network.
Through the mindful fostering of new collaborations and partnerships we can, for instance, identify individuals or groups that lack strong connections to the “core” of the network, and intentionally connect them. This process, known as “network weaving”, helps build a self-sustaining collaborative network.
However, traditional social network analysis often requires a computer-based survey to collect data, which is then analyzed by a specialist to create maps and visualizations. All this must occur before participants can take action.
We wondered: how can get the benefits of social network analysis at the grassroots-level with limited technology? And how can we make the results immediately actionable?
Our solution: we created large posters listing the attendees and gave each person a set of personalized stickers (containing their name and email). Throughout the program of Mexico 2015, participants “stuck” their names next to (a) people they have already partnered with and (b) those they want to work with in the future. In real time, and during dedicated open spaces in the program, attendees were able to take action to make these potential new partnerships a reality.
After the event, the KFLA team input the results into Kumu, a free online mapping tool. The resulting map (see above) will be used to better “weave” and strengthen the Latin America and Caribbean network and will enable the team to measure and evaluate progress towards our network-based goals.