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Draw network maps

Page history last edited by b.sophie.alvarez@... 11 years, 3 months ago

Step 4: Draw network maps



Participants draw a ‘now’ network map, showing current key relationships between stakeholders, and a ‘future’ network map showing how stakeholders should link together to achieve the vision. Participants then devise strategies to bring about the main changes. The influence and attitude of actors is explicitly considered during these exercises.




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Rationale: why draw network maps and what it brings to the process

The cause-effect logic of the problem trees in the PIPA process is nicely balanced by a network perspective, in which impact results from interactions between actors in an ‘innovation system’. These interactions can be modelled by drawing network maps showing important relationships between actors. These actor-oriented descriptions in the network maps are observable, understandable, and verifiable.


Preparation for the exercise:


how long it takes

It takes about 6 to 6.5 hours to do the whole exercise. It includes an introduction to network maps, which takes about 30 minutes.

The construction of the now map takes about 2 hours, and the future map takes about 1 hour. Identifying project scaling strategy would take an hour. Presentation and discussion of maps would take about 2 hours.



how to set it up

Click here for a powerpoint slide of relevant exercises on creating network maps.



1. Limit relationships in the map to four.

2. Use small 5 cm by 5 cm post it notes for drawing the nodes.

3. If you are dealing with only one project in the workshop, and you are working with a group of more than 8 participants, then split them into four groups and get each group to draw the map for just one relationship (e.g., one group draws the funding network, another does research, etc.)

4. Use poker chips/checkers pieces for the influence towers.


How to draw a network map?

Ask the participants to draw the Now map--networks of people and organizations (the actors) already working in the area in which the project wishes to intervene, or is already intervening. Then ask them to build influence towers to indicate the relative influence of each actor in the respective networks they have drawn. Next to the towers they indicate if the actor’s attitude is negative, neutral or positive to what the project is trying to do.Then ask them to draw the Future map showing how the actors will need to be linked to achieve the project’s vision. Then they develop the scaling strategy in which they record the most important changes in the networks and attitudes, explain why the changes are important and who needs to do what to make them happen.



Below is an example of a good map--one that shows relationships between different actors clearly and easy to understand as it does not have a huge amount of actors and lines. What is the key with network maps is to show what the authors of the map agree on as the most important relationships.


The map below shows who is funding what in agriculture, including research, extension and education.




Click here for a larger image.


Below is an example of a map that can be improved. The map is good in showing the inter-relationships between the organizations, it is not project-centric. It shows that they are aware of the web of relationships in which they operate. However, this map was drawn before we limited the number of relationships to four. In this map, there were 8 relationships and as a result, it becomes overcomplicated.




Click here for a larger image.



The network map below was redrawn from the information from the map above, using a program called NetDraw. The program uses an algorithm that puts the most connected nodes in the center of the map, and minimizes the numbers of lines that cross. This helps with the visualization of the network structure. Using NetDraw also allows relationships to be drawn individually, which is particularly useful in helping understand complex maps such as the one drawn above. The map below shows who is funding who.

For easy step- by - step instructions to redraw maps in Netdraw, also using Ucinet, see Instructions to draw maps in Netdraw




The network map below was also drawn using NetDraw showing all the relationships. It shows IWMI as the main project implementor. It has a hub and spoke appearance because it says little about the interaction between organizations other than IWMI.





Projects are impelemented within a web of relationships that already exists between organizations and individuals. Network maps should capture a bit of this complexity, capture some of the important relationships between the actors they are directly working with because how these actors interact with the project is influenced by how they are interacting with each other. Capturing some of these interactions can suggest influence strategies whereby a project can seek to influence not just directly but indirectly as well.


Project scaling strategy

PIPA assumes that projects will achieve their vision through the adoption and use of the technologies and knowledge they produce. PIPA recognizes two types of adoption: scaling out and scaling up. The project's scaling strategy describes what the project needs to do to ensure that scaling out and up of its knowledge and technologies actually happen. The future map shows the project's hypothesis about how organizations need to be working together for scaling out and up to happen. The project's scaling strategy is derived from the differences between the now map and the future map. The project's scaling strategy is what the project needs to do to bring these changes about. These changes are described in the following table.


Scaling Strategy Table



Frequently asked questions

How can we draw network maps using software?

We use two programs to draw the network maps. First we put the information from the workshop-drawn network maps into a text file which are then imported into UCINET. UCINET puts the text file into matrix format which we then plot in NetDraw.


What if we want to map other relationships that funding, research, scaling out and scaling up?

Network mapping can be used for whatever relationships that are important for the project. However, plotting too many relationships lead to complicated maps which are difficult to interpret.


The network maps show relationships between organizations but in reality relationships are between people. How do we capture that?

If it is important to capture relationships between people, then the positions they occupy can appear as the nodes in the map.


Next step: Develop an outcomes logic model





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