Friday, November 09, 2012

Mapping Participation. Help Build the Network

If you’ve been reading articles I’ve written you’ve seen many talking about network building and collective impact. I’ve been working at this for more than 35 years.

One way I’ve attempted to bring people together is through the May and November conferences I’ve hosted in Chicago since May 1994. This graphic is one of several that show the mix of participants at 2008-2009 conferences. See more conference maps here. You can see that there are not many from business, faith communities, political leadership, media or philanthropy.

Below is a different map. It shows different intermediary organizations in the Chicago region focusing on the well-being of youth. See map here. Every time I host a conference I send invitations inviting representatives from these groups to participate.

This next graphic is a map of one section of my web library. Each of these nodes points to a page with dozens of links related to that topic. When I host a conference I'm inviting representatives from each web site I link to in my library to participate. And I'm pointing anyone who reads my blog and/or attends the conference to visit these web sites and learn from the information they share.

This next graphic is a map of the Austin neighborhood of Chicago built using the Tutor/Mentor Program Locator. This map shows businesses in the area. Another version shows faith groups. The green stars are a few of 170 different locations where various forms of youth mentoring and/or tutoring are being offered in the Chicago region.

This graphic shows kids and tutor/mentor programs as the hub of the wheel. The spokes lead to each industry in the region, as well as faith, civic, social and political organizations.
At each spoke the ROLE OF LEADERS should be to encourage members to become informed, and then involved, in efforts that help improve the community wealth by helping more young people from throughout the region have the level of adult support they need to move through school and into adult responsibilities.

These maps show WHO we are trying to connect with and WHO is responding to our invitations by participating in the tutor/mentor conferences.

I’m not the only one hosting events in Chicago that bring people together to focus on helping kids. However, I don’t know of many who are using maps and network analysis tools to show who is coming to their events and to connect those people to each other so they can work together after the event. I don’t know too many who point to a map like the Program Locator with the goal of driving volunteers, donors, talent and other needed resources to each program, based on what the web site of the program describes as the work they do and WHERE they do it.

This is a Google map that I’ve added to the Conference web site. As people register they can add themselves to this map and put their web site, Facebook page and profile on the Tutor/Mentor Connection forum.

If we can get more leaders from different sectors connected to each other, through the conference I host or events they host, we can help existing organizations get the ideas, talent and dollars they each need to constantly improve the work they do and we can help people in different neighborhoods where too few programs exist get the ideas and resources to build new programs so we reach more k-12 kids.

We can use our network analysis maps and Google Maps to show who is reaching out to connect and help others while at the same time providing a tool to help people connect with each other. As the number of nodes on the maps grow we will be demonstrating that more people are working together.

Over the past few months more than $2 billion was spent trying to get someone elected to be President and to other public offices. I would like to hope that money will lead to more and better non-school tutor/mentor support systems in high poverty areas of Chicago but I think bringing people together who do the work of building and financing these programs is more likely to achieve that result.

Thus I hope that if you've read this far you'll go a step further to help me AND to help the people leading volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in Chicago and in other cities. PLEASE share this with people in your network and encourage them to attend the November 19 conference AND add themselves to the conference map and attendee list so others know they were participating and can connect with them.

We’re all in this together, aren’t we?

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