The Advocate Team in a Social System Mapping Project

The Advocate Team

In an ideal world, there would be a core group of early adopters - advocates - interested parties to help inform, design and promote your Social System Map.
In an ideal world, there would be:
  • Somewhere between 8 and 20 of these advocates,
    • Representing all the distinct stakeholder groups or different perspectives your network engages,
    • Psyched about the vision of having a Social System Map for their network,
    • Willing and influential enough to help convince others in the network to share their info in sumApp once the project is launched to the whole network,
    • Willing to give input into:
      • Survey design,
      • Connection questions,
      • Informational texts (if only to tell you what's confusing after everything has been drafted),
      • Map prototype & design
    • Willing to be part of a pilot test & map prototype
      • and tolerant of having to re-do the survey if things change,
    • Interested in participating in SenseMaking activities with the completed map,
    • Able to encourage others to engage in SenseMaking as well
    • Likely to embed SenseMaking-with-the-map activities into ongoing decision-making activities of the network.
In the real world - we generally don't get all of that in one go. We get a few people who give survey-design input, some others who will help invite people to participate, others who will SenseMake. Or we get a dedicated group - that represents only one or two stakeholder groups.

The truth is, the smaller the group, the easier the project - fewer meetings, less word-smithing, less coordination, less differing-perspectives-conflict. But easier isn't usually what makes the final outcome great. So there's a tension there. So just remember that according to Glenda Eoyang of Human Systems Dynamics tensions in a system are what generates the energy for transformation.

Your job, as a map maker, is to manage that tension and keep the project moving forward.

Employ the 'Meet Them Where They're At Principle' while continually nudging toward a more rigorous advocate group and a more righteous process. But don't hold things up for some impractical or not-shared ideal - because eventually you'll be able to use the 'Show Don't Persuade Principle' to help them understand why you were nudging them.

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