An SNA Sensemaking Activity- Preparing people to see

Posted by  Andrew Rixon —August 2, 2006
Filed in Collaboration

Social networkWe’ve learnt that for SNA to be effective in group situations there is real value in preparing people for what they may see within typical social network maps. The “hubs and bridges expectations warm-up” is one of our sensemaking processes useful for such preparation. This warm up activity aims to prepare groups for sensemaking in a productive and non-confrontational way.

This activity uses as its basis the broader Delphi process of brainstorming, narrowing down and ranking.  Unlike the traditional Delphi approach which usually occurs anonymously and asynchronously, this method is usually done in a group setting and resembles Bob Dick’s description of Delphi Face-to-Face. This process does not require the same rigour which the typical Delphi process employs as the purpose of this activity is to provide a sensemaking activity complimentary to the more formal activities associated with a typical social network analysis.

The Hubs and Bridges expectations warm-up

This process can work for 3-50 people. It is assumed that people are at tables with 5-7 people per table at Step 2. Materials required: Post-its, A4 template, Butchers Paper, Red dots = 6 per participant. Total time: 20-30 mins

Step 1: Introduce the group to the Hubs and Bridges concept
Time: 5-7 mins

Introduce people to what a ‘hub’ is and what a ‘bridge’ is in social network analysis. Experientially, this can be done using sociometry “networks in action” warmup exercises.

Step 2: Brainstorm and narrow down the list of Hubs and Bridges at table level
Time: 5-7 mins

First invite participants to privately spend 2-3 minutes brainstorm a list of people who they think would be key Hubs and Bridges in a given context. The context may be about information flow, problem solving, knowledge hoarding etc. Tables then are to work together to compile a list containing all the brainstormed Hubs and Bridges. From the compiled list, each table is to come to a consensus of their 5 most important Hubs and Bridges. No ranking required here, simply the 5 most important Hubs and Bridges. This can be decided through vote, discussion or any other means which the table decides.

Step 3: Feedback and group voting of narrowed down lists
Time: 10-15 mins

Invite each table to provide its list of 5 most important Hubs and Bridges. Compile this onto 2 large sheets of butchers paper (one for Hubs one for Bridges) with two columns: Name and Vote. Once compiled, invite the group to vote for the Hubs and Bridges they think would be the most important in the given context. Tally the votes. The groups expectation of who the Hubs and Bridges is now available for broader conversation and discussion.

Note: The 5 most important, could also be the 5 most … valued, key, influential,…

You might also be interested in my squidoo lens on Social Network Analysis and Sensemaking.

About  Andrew Rixon

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