Social network analysis: uncovering the secrets of information flow for our information architecture


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Social network analysis: uncovering the secrets of information flow for our information architecture.

Mia presents a case study in which she explores the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to model her users’ network and map the relationships between people, groups, organisations and information. She will explore how understanding the degrees of centrality and closeness in the network can uncover the flows of knowledge between users to create a deeper understanding reflected in Personas.
Agile Personas are "skinny" and are fleshed out as you uncover more information during the project.

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Social network analysis: uncovering the secrets of information flow for our information architecture

  1. 1. Social Networking Analysis: uncovering the secrets of information flow for our information architecture Maria Horrigan Principal Consultant #OZIA09 #SNA<br />
  2. 2. Information and knowledge<br />Human absorptive capacity<br />Growth<br />Time<br />Cohen & Levinthal 1989<br />A world of rapidly growing knowledge ….<br />
  3. 3. ....that is increasingly connected<br />..and just a click away<br />local<br />networks<br />old colleagues<br />colleagues<br />at other offices<br />new friends<br />family<br />local<br />colleagues<br />old friends<br />virtual<br />communities<br />old classmates<br />
  4. 4. Understanding Modern Users <br />Modern wants, needs, online behaviours, attitudes, expectations, and motivations:<br />Increasingly complex and faceted<br />Information needs:<br />More and more complex<br />Increasingly difficult to document<br />Context of use:<br />Complex dynamics, influencers and influences<br />
  5. 5. Context of the Case:<br />Large scale project in government<br />No idea what the end solution would be like<br />Lots of information, but in people’s heads<br />Multiple stakeholders across multiple silos<br />Information flows between individuals and groups not well known<br />External industry pressure for project to occur<br />How could we leverage the network for the benefit of the project?<br />
  6. 6. The Six Degrees of Separation<br />
  7. 7. Social Networking Analysis (SNA)<br />Helped us explore questions such as:<br />How does information flow into the network?<br />Where does the information flow?<br />Who is involved and why?<br />What are they saying?<br />What do they know?<br />How do they interact?<br />Strength of relationships & interactions ?<br />Are there emergent sub-groups?<br />
  8. 8. What we did<br />Adopted an agile approach<br />Broke down huge project puzzle into smaller business issues to solve<br />Had multiple streams of activities (IA had visualisation of all the different parts of the puzzle)<br />Used SNA in each stream to uncover the information needs of the users<br />Used “skinny” documentationto convey to stakeholders the key features of the system, its processes and the flow of information <br />
  9. 9. Informal organisation<br />Formal Organisation<br />Uncovered organisational networks <br />Teigland et al. 2005<br />
  10. 10. Centrality : revealing network structure <br />Very centralized network - one or a few very central ‘nodes’. If removed, network quickly fragments and fails <br />Less centralized network - resilient. Many nodes can fail yet allow remaining nodes to still reach each other <br />Boundary Spanners - connect their group to others. Innovators as have access to ideas and information in other clusters <br />Periphery of a network -may connect to networks not currently mapped. Important sources of fresh information <br />
  11. 11. SNA – Revealing Network Centrality<br /><br />
  12. 12. What we found: Degree of Centrality<br />Hub has most connections – authority gained<br />It not the “more connections the better”, but where they lead to…<br />..and how they connect the otherwise unconnected<br />
  13. 13. What we found: Betweeness Centrality <br />Great influence over what flows (and does not)<br />“location location location”<br />Broker role between <br /> Industry and Organisation<br />
  14. 14. What we found: Closeness Centrality <br />Shortest path to all others – gives quick access<br />Excellent position to monitor info flows<br />Best visibility of what is happening in the network<br />
  15. 15. Formalvs Informal Info Flow<br />
  16. 16. Formal vsInformal Info Flow<br />
  17. 17. User Profiles within the Organisation<br />Boundary Spanner<br />Potential blocker<br />Influencer<br />Key User<br />Project Champion<br />Gatekeeper<br />Key source<br />Key User<br />Key decision maker<br />Trusted advisor<br />Periphery<br />Key User<br />
  18. 18. Access to more Knowledge and Info<br />… but of course this is just a subsection of the networked organisation<br />Map shows 1st & 2nd degree relationships <br />Actors on the periphery of the network had access to many other networks within the organisation<br />
  19. 19. Leveraged Centrality<br />Understood who might be “blockers” or “gatekeepers” of information and content<br />Found people to go to in order to elicit information <br />Minimised re-work & unnecessary consultation – meeting fatigue<br />Quickly identified who might know the answer, communicate with them, understand their lessons learned, improve likely success <br />Knew who and how to communicate key messages through use of targeted IA tools <br />
  20. 20. Captured SNA in personas<br />Started off with ‘skinny’ view of users gained thru workshops<br />Added to personas as info uncovered thru SNA <br />Built up personas as we went in our agile project iterations, rather than all-at-once<br />
  21. 21. From skinny to zen personas<br />As our project knowledge evolved, we added to our understanding of users:<br />Their information preferences<br />Their expectations<br />Their capabilities<br />Their information needs<br />Their social network profiles (Forrester’s Technographics)<br />Documented as ‘ZenAgile’ personas<br />
  22. 22. Added style preferences to personas<br /><ul><li> People oriented
  23. 23. Animated
  24. 24. Creative
  25. 25. Outgoing
  26. 26. Goal oriented
  27. 27. Assertive
  28. 28. Task & information focused</li></ul>T<br />Talkers<br />D<br />Drivers<br />task<br />people<br />S<br />Supporters<br />C<br />Controllers<br /><ul><li> Logical
  29. 29. Information & task focus
  30. 30. Detail orientated
  31. 31. Cautious & risk averse
  32. 32. People oriented
  33. 33. Team players
  34. 34. Dependable
  35. 35. Stable</li></li></ul><li>Added communication channel preferences<br />People learn different ways<br />V= Visual (Something ‘seen’ or visual stimulation)<br />Need a graphic representation <br />A= Auditory (A ‘sound’ memory or related to a sound<br />Need to hear the explanation of how things work<br />K= Kinaesthetic (Has a ‘doing’ memory, feeling the emotion or activity of the memory<br />Need to use the system to understand<br />
  36. 36. Activity<br />Write 5 words or phrases that relate to the words: Beach and Ocean<br />Place a V, an A, or a K against each:<br />V=visual (Something ‘seen’ or had visual stimulation) e.g. See the blue sky, see children playing in the water<br />A=Auditory (A ‘sound’ memory or related to a sound e.g. Hear the waves against the shore<br />K=Kinaesthetic(Has a ‘doing’ memory & you thought of yourself feeling the emotion) e.g. Feel the sun and the sand, the taste of salt<br />
  37. 37. How we supported user learning<br />Best IA Tools:<br /><ul><li> Personas
  38. 38. Presentations (animation & diagrams)
  39. 39. Prototypes
  40. 40. Storyboards</li></ul>Best IA Tools:<br /><ul><li> Discuss User scenarios (their story)
  41. 41. Presentations
  42. 42. Podcasts</li></ul>Best IA Tools:<br /><ul><li> Prototypes
  43. 43. Workshops
  44. 44. UAT (User Acceptance Testing)</li></li></ul><li>Added social network behavioural preferences<br />
  45. 45. The result: ZenAgile Personas!<br />Social Technographics<br />Centrality<br />Communication preferences<br />
  46. 46. What did I learn?<br />Found out who knows what and how the info flowed through the organisation<br />Personas good way to help convey and shape understanding of user’s info needs<br />Agile approach - build on “skinny” profile & flesh out personas as the project proceeds<br />Involving the right people with the right info can mean the difference between success & failure<br />
  47. 47. Conclusions<br />
  48. 48. IA & Six Degrees of Separation<br />You may only be one or two degrees away from some who know the info you need<br />Information networks can be connected and lessons learnt and reuse made possible<br />
  49. 49. Applying SNA and Communications<br />Makes sure you understand the user dynamics with the organisation<br />Choose the right channel based on users style and preferences<br />Build personas as you uncover more about the users<br />Makes sure your IA artefacts match these preferences<br />
  50. 50. ”No one knows everything, <br />everyone knows something, <br />all knowledge resides in humanity ”<br />Networks <br />Lévy 1997<br />
  51. 51. FinMaria Horrigan <br /><br /><br /><br />@miahorri<br />#OZIA09 , #SNA<br />Email :<br />