Putting the analysis features of the PARTNER Tool online in the Dashboards has given us the opportunity at VNL to install a few upgrades to the already well loved PARTNER analysis tool. The legacy PARTNER Tool in excel allowed you to draw maps based on your 2 relational questions set in the survey as questions 11 and 12 or any additional relational questions added. Online, you can draw any relational question as a network map including the Value and Trust questions. The maps themselves also look sleeker with the ability to control the force (distance between nodes), the size of nodes (even based on network scores), and color the nodes by multiple types of groupings. You can also select to show isolates (those not connected to any other node) or not, as well as, look at the ego map of any node and enable to see node level details within your maps. See images below showcasing the updates made to the maps with the online dashboards!* *These maps are utilizing the Sandbox data found within your free access to the Dashboards within your PARTNER Platform account.
In the network map above each colored circle represents one member of the network and the nodes are colored by type of organization. The black lines demonstrate when respondents indicated that they currently have exactly a coordinated relationship with another member of the network. A high number of lines indicate that a large number of partners indicated coordinated relationships to that organization. If a node does not have any connections to any other node, they are considered an isolate.
In the legacy tool, you had the ability to stripe a node only based on their contributions to the network (Q4). This same behavior is found online in the dashboards, except now you have the ability to stripe a node based on any response to any non-relational single or multiple choice question from your survey!
You can essentially layer on any response on top of your maps, adding an even deeper level of analysis and interpretation of your network data. See below for an example the same map shown above with Q8 (How successful has this community collaborative been at reaching its goals) and the response to show as “Very Successful.” See right for map controls for layered map in example below.
In the network map above each colored circle represents one member of the network and the nodes are colored by type of organization. The black lines demonstrate when respondents indicated that they currently have exactly a coordinated relationship with another member of the network. The nodes that are striped answered “Very Successful” to question 8 on “How successful has this community collaborative been at reaching its goals.”
Let's Make a Cupcake!
It doesn’t have to complicated to make a layered map to help tell your network’s story. First it is important to note what types of questions you can use to make your maps (makes the lines between the nodes) and which questions you can use to layer on top of your maps (stripes the nodes). Within the PARTNER survey you can ask 3 types of questions to your respondents:
- Non-Relational Open Ended Question (usually questions about the network or the respondent; Questions 2, 3, and 19 in the default survey)
- Non-Relational Single/Multiple Choice Question (usually questions about the network or the respondent; Questions 4-9 in the default survey)
- Relational Question (questions about the partnerships within the network; Questions 10-18 in the default survey)
Think of the metaphor of baking a cupcake when you are layering your maps.
1) Start with a Relational QUestion to draw a network map
2): Add in a Non-Relational Question
3) Enjoy your data cupcake and interpret!
Putting this into Practice
Think of your network survey and your evaluation/research questions, what story do you want your data to tell? Pick 2-3 results that would be relevant to network members, network funders, or stakeholders that the network serves in the community.
For example, using the Sandbox data imagine we are looking to expand the leadership of the network to have more of a shared governance model vs. an outside entity mandating the network. Using our data, we are looking for influential members who could start to take on some of the leadership/facilitation tasks from the current network leader.
On the map controls, for our cake (say chocolate), we select Q13: How powerful or influential is this member, and we choose to show only those that were perceived as having a great deal of power or influence.
Next we go to the results tab to select our frosting (say vanilla), and select Q4, what can this member contribute to the network, and we select to show “Facilitation/Leadership”.
Then we enjoy and interpret!
We see that 3 organizations chose “Facilitation/Leadership” in Q4: Org 3; Org 14 and Org 11. However, only 2 of those organizations are perceived by their partners as having a “great deal” of power and influence; Org 14 and Org 11. As a network leader, I would then ask myself, do these same two organizations have the same high level of involvement.
To do this, we need to change the kind of cake but leave the type of frosting. So now instead of looking at Q13, we choose Q14 in the map controls to show perceived level of involvement (strawberry cake) and we choose to show only those that were perceived as having a great deal of involvement. We indicate the same controls for our vanilla frosting by striping those who can contribute “Facilitation/Leadership”. Next, we enjoy!
We see the same two organizations (Org 14 and Org 11) who are not only perceived by their partners as having a “great deal” of power and influence but are also shown here as having a “great deal” of involvement as well. By looking at these two layered maps, an action step would be to approach the contacts that represent these organizations with your findings. These two organizations already indicated they can contribute facilitation/leadership to the network, but they may not know they are perceived by their partners as being highly involved and influential. This data shows that network members already value and trust these two organizations and it could be a good fit for them to take on more of a leadership role within the network.
Now think of your own data, what types of cupcakes can you bake with it?
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About the Author:
Sara Sprong is Visible Network Lab’s Chief Product Owner. Sara is responsible for ensuring VNL’s suite of products run smoothly and meet the needs of users. She was a champion of the roll out and adoption of the PARTNER tool, successfully achieving a customer base in all 50 states and 13 countries. She provides amazing customer service and support while keeping tabs on all the moving parts of the product life cycle. She has deep understanding of the communities who use the products and works tirelessly to coordinate ongoing requests from partners and customers. Sara is an organizational wizard with an expertise in building technology for social impact. Sara is a snowboarder, outdoor enthusiast, and mother to a young growing family. Learn more about Sara and all our team members here.