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Healing Disrupted Networks

Nancy White, 12/01

These diagrams were inspired by some conversations with friends whose company was displaced in the 9-11 bombings of the World Trade Center in New York City. This is a starting point for thinking both about tools and processes that can be used to heal disrupted and dispersed networks of people.

  • intact infrastructure
  • intact groups
  • intact network (but how well knit?)
  • system wide understanding of who is where in groups and networks

  • minimal infrastructure
  • dispersed groups
  • some totally disconnected members (not yet called back to work)
  • mimimal network
  • lack of information on who/where/what/why
  • stress of event and results

  • minimal infrastructure
  • groups reforming but not always connected to related groups
  • new, geographically formed groups (do they reflect functional groups)
  • reestablishing network, prioritized to high need tasks
  • Focus on strengthening groups and connected disconnected individuals
    1. collecting and disseminating contact information (Tools: "out of the box virtual office suites which allow individuals to enter their contact info -- even yahoo groups can do this, basic shared communications functionality as interim before intranet restored)
    2. providing personal, warm electronic communication to reestablish sense of connection, continuity (Tools: discussion boards and voice/text chat rooms with appropriate privacy gradients)
    3. provide a safe place to share/talk/process for work and personal issues (Tools: text and voice chat, discussion boards, privacy gradients, facilitation and appropriate mental health oversight.)

  • groups reestablishing internal connections
  • some inter-group connections
  • Continue strengthening groups, start connecting groups to rebuild network
    1. Formalized inter-team connections, reports (Tools: short online events, a "bullentin board" where teams can report their status)
    2. continue providing personal, warm electronic communication to reestablish sense of connection, continuity, safe place to talk (Tools: discussion boards and text/voice chat rooms with appropriate privacy gradientsfacilitation and appropriate mental health oversight.)
    3. Start initial network wide communications

  • groups reestablished
  • increased inter group connections
  • stronger network
  • Stronger focus on strengthening the network
    1. "Normalization" of business processes
    2. Full network communications of major ssues
    3. Continued attention to group and intergroup processes

  • return to strong groups within intact network

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