Our NetWorkShop on Saturday was a great success and I think everyone left with a better understanding of networks, as well as some ideas for future pursuit. One main message that came through early in the workshop is that you cannot manage a network. That’s probably the biggest barrier to Net Work in most organizations. We also went through a few exercises to describe some of our networks and created value network maps maps that looked much messier than this one, by Patti Anklam.
Our value network analyses (VNA) looked like this:
One key insight for me is that when analyzing networks we need to describe the connections in detail. It’s not just mapping the nodes, but understanding how they are connected. With Value Network Analysis, one looks at tangible and intangible asset transfers. Process maps often ignore the type of connection and show it as an arrow without describing all the fuzzy relationships. This is a limitation of performance analysis as it often misses the social aspect of organizations.
Incorporating a process map like performance analysis into a value network analysis might give us deeper insights into how an organization and its people actually work. Given that more of our work collaboration happens in networks and uses social media platforms, this is the direction our analysis should go. As Jay Deragon notes, it’s not the outputs that really matter but the quality of the connected processes. I’ve added comments on the need for descriptions of relationships and quality of connections to the performance analysis process map above. It’s just a start.
More photos of our NetWorkShop are on Flickr.