Mapping quality with VNA

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 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.

Patti Anklam’s book on Net Work is now available on the Kindle.

7 Responses to “Mapping quality with VNA”

  1. Jon Husband

    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.

    If you’re doing (almost) anything other than just talking about networks, the above is critical. There are individual people or small groups of people at the nodes, and they each have purpose, objectives, their cognitive styles, sources and destinations for flows of info, etc.

    It’s critical. Anything else is pretty much guesswork or intuition / past experience using patterns and rules. (from case studies ?).

    Reply
  2. Harold Jarche

    Agree, Jon. It wasn’t a new insight but it’s always good to have it reinforced. One of my main areas of professional interest is to develop analytical tools/processes for social learning & collaboration systems. VNA leads into this.

    Reply
  3. Jon Husband

    It wasn’t a new insight but it’s always good to have it reinforced

    I wasn’t criticizing, or suggesting that you were claiming any new insight(s). Just reinforcing as you say your good point.

    Reply
  4. Ollie Gardener

    “Main areas of professional interest is to develop analytical tools/processes for social learning & collaboration systems”
    Ditto!

    I think technology can provide a great insight into the inter-connectedness of a network, not just in who is connecting and communicating which whom, but how information is introduced, distributed and re-purposed within a network.

    I would be really interested to hear which other resources you would recommend on this topic. Cheers :)
    @olliegardener

    Reply

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