Net-Map is an interview-based mapping tool that helps people understand, visualize, discuss, and improve situations in which many different actors influence outcomes. By creating Influence Network Maps, individuals and groups can clarify their own view of a situation, foster discussion, and develop a strategic approach to their networking activities. More specifically, Net-Map helps players to determine what actors are involved in a given network, how they are linked, how influential they are, and what their goals are.
The tool is extremely low-tech and low-cost and can be used when working with rural community members with low formal education as well as with policy makers, or international development actors. To grasp the simplicity of the tool, here's the list of equipment needed: Large sheets of paper for the network map (one per interview), felt pens for drawing links (different colors according to different links), adhesive paper as actor cards, flat round stackable discs for building influence-towers (e.g. checker?s pieces, bicycle spare parts), and finally, actor figurines (different board game figures, optional but especially useful when working with illiterate interviewees).
What's fascinating about this modest model is the awareness that Social Network Analysis (SNA) doesn't necessarily need to involve expensive high-tech tools, that can be difficult to implement and use. See more images of the project in action (in Ghana and Chile) on its Flickr stream.