Social Network Mapping is a powerful way to visualize your network. Although hand drawn maps do not have the detail of web-based network maps, they do help people visualize their network and start to take responsibility for making their networks healthier and more effective.
They can see who is missing and reach out to invite in under represented groups. Network maps can help teams notice if one person or a small group is too central and has become a bottleneck. They can see types of groups or organizations that are not well-connected. There are many different types of relationships that network mapping can help you explore.
While there are numerous network mapping tools available, these tools and network mapping consultants can be quite expensive. To help, Netweaver has compiled a module of five different hand-drawn network mapping activities that are simple to do as a network. Network leadership teams will find network exercises for different purposes in this module.
This creative commons toolset produces simple network maps using Post It notes or by drawing on a large piece of paper. This free resource module includes directions for 5 different network mapping activities. It includes a direction sheet which can help you figure out which process is best for your network. Each set of directions also includes questions you can ask the group to help them analyze and make sense of the map or maps they generate.
The pictures below show examples of many different groups and give you a sense of how different the maps can look!
Materials are made available for free under a creative commons license. Please be sure to credit “June Holley of Netweaver.com” as the source.
- Intro – Hand-drawn Network Maps – Getting started Read this short introduction to creating and using network maps.
- Directions for Hand-drawn Network Mapping – This document contains basic directions for facilitating a hand-drawn Network Mapping Activity with your network.
- Mapping Networks You Want to Care For and Support – This process is useful for a board or coordinating group that wants to support and connect small networks, such as farmers markets or community gardens.
- Map Drawing Activity for Individuals – Think of a project you are currently working on. A good project for this activity is a project where you are working with other organizations, volunteers or community residents – not just a project with only staff from your organization.
- Map Drawing Activity at a Table – This is useful when you have a large group of people and just want people to understand the power of mapping and the connections each person at the table has.
- Map Drawing Activity for Core Groups (Facility or Work Teams) – This is an excellent option for facilitation teams, steering teams or large workgroups to try. This activity is best for groups of 10 or less people otherwise it can get complicated.
- Map Drawing Activity for Communities or Medium-to-Large Networks – This activity is best done with between 10-40 people. If you have a larger group you can either divide up into smaller groups where people focus on and map a specific collaborative project or consider using network software to generate maps of the network.