Ecosystem Mapping: A Tool to Strengthen Systems and Impact
Ecosystem mapping is an excellent tool for those taking a systems or network approach in their work. Whether you aim to improve community health, education, and other social issues, you will benefit by understanding the systems influencing your approach. By visually understanding how the entities within the system are interconnected, interdependent, and interacting, you can identify ways to shift the system towards improved and more equitable outcomes. Learn more about ecosystem mapping and get a map template below.
What is Ecosystem Mapping?
Today in the world of social impact, we know that systems thinking is critically important for achieving goals. To address an issue like homelessness, it’s now necessary to consider the larger system effects that help create and reinforce the problem. You may work with those involved in education, healthcare and mental health, substance abuse issues and more to find systemic ways you can collaboratively address homelessness.
Ecosystem mapping involves creating a map of the interconnections between all the people, organizations, ideas, and other factors that impact your problem. It can help you understand the interactions between different issues and sectors to find new opportunities for action and impact. It draws heavily from the fields of network science and system dynamics.
Get Started with our Canva Ecosystem Map Template
Ecosystem mapping can be difficult for beginners. To make things easier, we put together an ecosystem mapping template on Canva – a free graphic design program that’s easy to use. Just fill out the form, and we’ll send you an access link to make your ecosystem map using our template. It includes a sample map to show you some of the ways you can visualize and categorize entities and connections in an ecosystem. When finished, you can export it as a PDF to share.
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What Can You Learn Through Ecosystem Mapping?
Explore the Structure of Connections
Dig into the way the parts of your ecosystem interconnect. Discover new ways to structure your connections to change ecosystem flows and interaction.
Measure the Quality of Connections
Use our validated measures for trust and value, along with traditional network science metrics to track how your relationships change over time.
Map multi-level ecosystems at the individual, sub-system and complete ecosystem levels to identify how each level impacts and affects the others.
Key Leverage Points
Identify key nodes with significant influence on the rest of the ecosystem so you can leverage them intentionally to improve and reach goals.
Ecosystem Mapping with PARTNER CPRM
Ecosystem mapping can be done simply using a pen and paper to identify connections. However, it is more effective to use innovative tools like PARTNER. With trust and value scores, network science measures, and more, it maps and tracks ecosystem connections and interactions over time. With options for mapping systems at multiple levels, it’s a flexible, powerful tool for ecosystem visualization.
Connect with our Team!
Contact the VNL team to demo PARTNER or discuss a potential research or evaluation project. We can help you learn more about our services, help brainstorm project designs, and provide a custom scope based on your budget and needs. We look forward to connecting!
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More Resources About Ecosystem Mapping
With the development of ecosystem strategies, we need new tools like our CPRM to help track and adapt them over time to continue improving.
Ecosystem Mapping Webinar
In this network leader webinar, we demonstrate how to use social network analysis to map and track ecosystems using the PARTNER Platform.
Using SNA to Shift Systems
This VNL case study shares how we used social network analysis mapping to help the ReThink Health Initiative shift systems for health & well-being.
Ecosystem Strategy Development
This article introduces the concept of ecosystem strategy development, and how to approach this process to get as much out of it as possible.