conference evaluation and network mapping

January 14, 2008 at 8:20 pm 12 comments

lift07_nm_lifters_11_after.jpg

Often we attend conferences where one of the stated objectives is “increase/build/create networking” and I always found it odd that there is never any attempt to measure if networking really took place.

A possible solution is to map networks created by participants at conferences – and compare these networks to those that existed before the conferences.

This is exactly what I have done recently in a network mapping study that you can view here (pdf – 1 MB) and the above image is from. From the LIFT conference of 2007, we mapped the networks of 28 participants (out of 450 total participants) before and after the conferences. We found some quite surprising results:

  • These 28 participants had considerable networks prior to the conference – reaching some 30% of all participants.
  • These networks increased after the conference -the 28 people were then connected to some 50% of all participants.
  • Based on the sample of 28 participants, most participants doubled their networks at LIFT07 – e.g. if you went to the conference knowing five people, you would likely meet another five people at the conference – thus doubling your network to ten.

Although this is only a mapping of 28 participants, it provides some insight into conferences and how networks develop – it’s also quite interesting that 28 people can reach 50% (225 people) of the total conference participants in this case.

View the full report here (pdf – 1 MB).

If you are after further information on network mapping, I recommend Rick Davies’ webpage on network mapping. Although it focuses on development projects it contains a lot of useful information on network mapping in general.

Glenn

Entry filed under: Conference / event evaluation, Network analysis & mapping, Research & Studies. Tags: .

Measuring social media Using graphs and diagrams to explain

12 Comments Add your own

  • [...] O’Neil analyzed the effect of LIFT on [...]

    Reply
  • [...] conference. As I was browsing around after submitting my workshop proposal, I saw that the report based on that survey had been published. On the LIFT site, you can see screenshots of the graphs (yes, this is what I [...]

    Reply
  • 3. achumley  |  January 29, 2008 at 9:00 pm

    Glenn,
    I love it. A smart application of network mapping. How did you get access to the networks ofthe 28 attendees?

    Reply
  • 4. Steph  |  February 4, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    achumley: we filled in a survey in which we listed our contacts!

    Reply
  • 5. Glenn  |  February 5, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Alan, as Stephanie stated above, attendees like herself volunteered to fill in a simple web form of people they knew before the conference and people they met during the conference. Of course such a project may not work in conferences where people are not willing to share details of their contacts – business fairs for example – even if confidentiality of the data is assured.

    Glenn

    Reply
  • 6. network mapping tool « intelligent measurement  |  May 20, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    [...] May 20, 2008 As regular readers will now, I am interested in network mapping and have undertaken some projects where I have used network mapping to assess networks that have emerged as a result of conferences. [...]

    Reply
  • 7. rickjdavies  |  June 7, 2008 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Glenn
    Thanks for writing up this work.
    An alternate question (to who have you met during this event) is “Who (in this workshop) are you likely to talk to in the next six months about issues discussed in this workshop?”
    This sort of network is a means for following up the impact of workshops later on. If there are a few people who are well connected to many others in this post-workshop network then the follow up could be done quite economically
    regards, rick davies, http://www.mande.co.uk

    Reply
  • [...] Conference evaluation and network mapping “Often we attend conferences where one of the stated objectives is “increase/build/create networking” and I always found it odd that there is never any attempt to measure if networking really took place. A possible solution is to map networks created by participants at conferences – and compare these networks to those that existed before the conferences. This is exactly what I have done recently in a network mapping study that you can view here (pdf –  1 MB) and the above image is from. From the LIFT conference of 2007, we mapped the networks of 28 participants (out of 450 total participants) before and after the conferences. We found some quite surprising results:…” [...]

    Reply
  • 9. Glenn  |  June 9, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    thanks Rick, that’s a good point – it’s a way of looking at how “solid” the network is and predicting future networking.
    kind regards, Glenn

    Reply
  • [...] June 24, 2008 Measuring networks can have many applications: how influence works, how change happens within a community, how people meet, etc. I’m interested in measuring networks as indicator of how contacts are established amongst people, particularly in events and conferences, as I’ve written about previously. [...]

    Reply
  • 11. Sergey  |  June 24, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    How would this be in impact like the spiritual link to such networking when one considers such alternative factors as media?

    Reply
  • 12. Automated network mapping « intelligent measurement  |  August 27, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    [...] I’ve been involved in doing network mapping of conferences the old-fashion way – manually (as I’ve written about before). This article in the Technology Review explains how automated network mapping was done at a [...]

    Reply

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