Knowledge mapping exercise

Submitted by Sukaina Bharwani | published 25th Mar 2011 | last updated 6th Jan 2015

Module on network mapping

For this knowledge mapping exercise using the NetMap methodology, workshop participants should be split into groups according to the scale at which they work, the type of institution they belong to, the sector in which they work or the geographical area. A common thread is useful!

Step 1: Ask: 'Who are the most important actors in your field?' (whether you interact with them or not)


Step 1: Actors

Step 2: 

a.) Ask: 'Who is linked to whom?'

b.) Ask: 'What are the different links/flows between actors/institutions?'


Step 2: Locating actors


Step 2b: Relationships

Step 3: Ask: 'How influential are the actors in this field?'


Step 3: Influences

Step 4: Define goals for each actor and note these on each post-it. Allow for multiple goals where appropriate, by noting more than one goal next to the actor.


Step 4: Defining goals

Step 5: What does this tell you about network and the nodes you have identified in the network?

  • With whom do you have the strongest knowledge sharing connections (two way arrows and close links)?
  • With whom do you THINK you SHOULD have the strongest connections? If they are not the same as (a) what might you do to strengthen them?
  • Who is an important connector in your network? These would be people/organizations who have lots of connections with other nodes. They link others, who may not otherwise be linked.
  • Which have very few connections and what are the implications for your work?
  • What might you do to strengthen weak connections?
  • Are there places where you have too many connections? If you are the only current 'connector' who else might help play that role?
  • Are there influential actors you are not connected to?
  • Clusters: are there some actors where everyone is linked to everyone? Is this beneficial to your organization? Why? Why not?
  • How centralized is the network - how much is it organized around one central node?
  • How heterogeneous or homogeneous are the actors in the network? This is important both for innovation and stability. In what ways have you experienced this?


Step 5: Analysis

Further resources