Thursday, August 04, 2016

Mapping Activities of Intentional Influence

I created this map yesterday, showing people and organizations I'd touched in July, via email, Twitter, Facebook, or by attending events hosted by others.

In a post last week  I talked about the "village" it takes to raise a child and asked "who's building the village?"  Yesterday's map was intended to show work I do daily to try to help such a village grow in Chicago and other cities by sharing ideas throughout my network.

I shared my map with Terry Elliott, a professor from a university in Western Kentucky, who I've met over past four years through the Connected Learning MOOC (#clmoc). Terry dug deep into my map and then created this graphic, which he shared on his blog.

Then, in my Twitter feed, others from the #clmooc asked "how did I do this?"

I've been trying to think of a way to respond, without turning this blog article into a book long essay.

First, the map was  not created based on random contacts, but as a result of intentionally reaching out to people I've added to my web library, Twitter and email lists, over the past 25 years.

In 1993 when I and six other volunteers created the Tutor/Mentor Connection (which I now lead through Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC), it's goal was to "gather and organize all that is known about successful non-school tutoring/mentoring programs and apply that knowledge to expand the availability and enhance the effectiveness of these services to children throughout the Chicago region."

This concept map shows the four steps involved in this process. I created this PDF to outline those steps, and I hope one, or more, of my #clmooc friends will use their talents to communicate this in other ways.

Step two of the strategy is "increase public awareness", which is outlined in this concept map and describe in this 2013 blog article.

I had worked in retail advertising from 1973-1990, for the Montgomery Ward store chain. We spent over $200 million dollars a year, in the 1980s, to draw customers to our 400 stores every week.  In order to attract public and private sector support to help needed youth supports, like non-school tutor/mentor programs, to be available and sustained, in every high poverty neighborhoods, a similar on-going campaign is needed.

However, without advertising dollars (or any revenue since 2011), we need to be more creative in how we build public awareness and draw people to the information we're collecting (step 1 on the map), and to the different tutor/mentor programs operating in Chicago, where they can offer time, talent or dollars, to make each program world class at what they do to help kids (step 4 on the map).

View this link, to see the four sections of my web library, and this link to see a blog article with a list of pages I point to on a regular basis.

Included in those maps will be a link to a map showing Chicago organizations that act as intermediaries, bringing together others via their own web site, meetings, email, etc.  All focus on the well-being of youth.   The map is a planning tool. I use it to remind myself of who I need to be reaching out to on a regular basis, to try to become included in their process, while trying to share my experience and library.  

The map also shows "empty spaces" where I have limited information, but which needs to be filled. If someone else is collecting such information, I can just point to their web site. We can connect on social media and trying to build visits to such sites.

I keep focusing on "who needs to be involved" and created this talent map to visualize that, and to serve as a worksheet to document who is involved.

For instance, during July, my email newsletter focused on Volunteer Recruitment, because that's what every tutor/mentor program is focusing on during August and September as school is starting.  My Tweets, Facebook posts and other touches ask "What's Your Strategy to help mobilize volunteers for programs in your own network?"

The graphic below illustrates how quarterly events, repeated annually, and supported by many different sectors, can increase the amount of dollars and number of volunteers who are becoming involved in tutor/mentor programs over a multi-year period.  I started building this event cycle in 1994.  It's still a valid strategy, even though I've not hosted a conference since May 2015.

My goal is that more of us are singing the same song, at key times each year, such as volunteer recruitment during Aug/Sept, more people will hear the message and begin to seek out programs in different parts of the city where they can be involved.  This message targets people in business, faith groups, entertainment, sports, politics, media and others beyond those who lead schools and non-school youth programs.

So I browse through my concept maps, my Twitter lists, my Facebook page feed, and my Linked in groups, and post a message, "like" a message, and/or reTweet a message.  Or I attend a meeting that's being held, such as the weekly Chicago Hack Night event or the quarterly SCY Chicago events.  Those are each a "touch".

So are my interactions with people beyond Chicago via cMOOCs like #CLMOOC, or online courses, like the Collaborative Curiosity course hosted by VCU.

I'm trying to bring people together into on-going conversations. I keep pointing to cMOOCs because I don't feel any face-to-face planning process will every engage more than a very small percent of ALL people who need to be involved in an on-going planning and action process which I describe in this PDF.

To create the July Influence Map, shown above,  I pulled up the Intermediaries map, in my CMAP tools on-line folder and deleted those who I had not had contact with during July, then added new nodes showing some who I did have contact with, based on my calendar notes, email history, etc. I'm sure I omitted many.  I included links to their web sites, so that people who view my map are encouraged to go to their web sites and support their efforts.

Last year Terry Elliott took a look at another one of my maps, and added his own interpretation. This one shows how the information I, and others collect, can be a resource for others to learn and borrow from, to support their own efforts to help tutor/mentor programs grow, or solve other complex problems in the world.  In January 2016, Terry took a look at this article on my blog, then created a video which he posted on his blog, guiding his visitors through the information I have been collecting.

Last week I posted this article on my blog, showing a Thinglink done by Kevin Hodgson, another #clmooc member, with the invitation that he, Terry and others use their huge creative talents to "make" new interpretations of my maps and visualizations, then share them in their own communities, for the same purpose that I share them in Chicago.

As educators, they can teach youth to do this!

As people respond I'll try to add links to their blogs to this map, which points to people in different places who are sharing these ideas. I'll also share on social media, so more people respond to their presentation of these ideas.

When I wrote the "village" article last week, which I've actually included in blog articles since 2005, I was trying to model work "others should also be doing". Building this village should be work many are trying to do. Mapping where people need help is an action a few people need to do. But once that is done, many can take a role in drawing attention and resources to places on the map where help is needed.

While millions of dollars are being spent on political elections, we can't depend on political leaders to do this work, or build and sustain this village. It's up to each of us. 

This intent to document actions toward a goal is not something I've just started doing.  I encourage you to visit this OHATS (Organizational History and Tracking System) page and read about the on-line documentation system built in 2000 (which now is not working properly due to lack of tech support).

The four strategies documented in OHATS are the same four shown in the 4-part strategy.  If you have pockets of high poverty and disconnected youth and families in your community, I encourage you to spend time building  your understanding, then consider adopting this strategy. If you don't have any money, or are trying to build a team, start by building a map showing who you want to connect with, then find ways to "reach out and touch" as many as possible, on an on-going basis.

Eventually some will reach back, touch you, and say "let's connect".

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