Monday, 9 April 2012

Social Network Analysis on a table napkin

With the many great tools and techniques available for Social Network Analysis it is easy to get lost in it and forget the real point of it all. In essence Social Network Analysis allows you to survey every member of a group (followed up by selective 1:1 interviews)  to identify how frequently they interact with each other and for what purpose to enable you to determine 4 things (each beginning with the letter "I"):

1. Intrinsic connectivity of the whole group - how well is information flowing round the group as a whole
2. Inter-departmental connections - how well are the different sub-groups connected to each other
3. Informal networks - what informal teams exist across departmental boundaries and why
4. Individual Issues with people in the group (each beginning with the letter "B"):
  • Brokers - who are the people who act as "glue" between others?
  • Bottlenecks - who are the people who everybody wants to talk to and are they a constraint on group productivity?
  • Bystanders - who are the people who are disconnected from the group?
Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams,  virtual collaboration  and business simulation at