Community Mapping – Organizational Affiliation and Involvement

Number of People: 30-500

Time:  Depends on Size of Group

  • Small groups 30-40 min
  • Medium Groups 1 hour
  • Large Groups 1.5 hours

Formats: Small group conversation self managed with Instructions in parallel over 1 hour and groups posting on to map in series over the course of the hour.

Use of Method: This method is great for supporting a community getting to know itself better in several ways.

  1. There is an end product – literally a map of organizations and communities that can be valuable to all in attendance and beyond.

  2. There is the process to create the map itself – posting notes on the wall and working to cluster them give people information on where they fit in the community

  3. The process to create the content of the map – this supports small groups talking with each other about the organizations they participate and why and helps create peer-to-peer connections and knowledge transfer about the groups in the community.

History: I created this method to support the 250 people who attend the Internet Identity Workshop #16 building a community map of the organizations they participate in.

Supplies: On each of the 20 tables, 10 sheets of paper 4.25 x 11 (so 8.5×11 divided in 1/2).

It suggested a scale from one end to the other for people to write down different groups they participate with.

  • Super Involved (On the Board, Staff, Spec Writer,

  • Involved  (Active Engagement)

  • Limited Involvement (Occasionally Participating)

  • Lurking (you watch but don’t post on a mailing list, you read a newsletter but are not a member).

For each table Post-it Notes pads (3×3 inch) that are 4 different colors and 4 different shapes.  To be picked up after the first part of the exercise is complete.

Process: We open the conference with an hour of community interaction in groups of 10 around tables. We put a constraint on the group make up – their must be at least 3 new people to the conference at each table and 3 people who have attended the conference in the past.

We asked people to write down on their sheet of paper at least three organizations they are involved with in an appropriate spot on the spectrum.

When this task was completed we invited someone from the table to come and get a stack of post-it notes whose shapes matched the ones on the sheet of paper.   (I would recommend having 4 shapes each with their own color. The reason for shapes and colors is to support those with color blindness being able to navigate the exercise).

People were asked to transfer the names of organizations (on their long sheet of paper) on to the right shaped post-it note depending on their level of involvement.

With this complete two things happened:

  1. People at the tables were invited to share with each other the organizations they were involved with and why.  This is a self facilitated conversation.

  2. Over the course of the hour those at particular tables were invited to bring up their sticky notes and post them on the wall map.  After this is complete in small groups they returned to their seats and to continue the conversation about their involvement in organizations.

The exercise is complete when all the tables have posted their stickies on the wall. A small group can continue working to organize the notes into clusters putting similiar organizations near each other.


Here is the Map that was generated:

It has 500 post-it notes on it.


Recommendations: This map has 5 shapes and more colors we recommend having 4 colors and 4 shapes.



This was note that was sent to participants ahead of time to prepare them for the exercise:

Preparation for IIW

We are planning our interactive learning and community exercise for the opening of IIW and would like you to do some thinking on the plane ride here to prepare.

Many of us are involved in a variety of organizations working on the key problems, challenges and opportunities that Digital Identity poses for people.

What are the organizations and communities that you are involved in?

You will each be asked to share (in writing) about at least three of them:

  • One you are very involved in (on the board, leading a committee, devoting many hours a week to…)

  • One you are active to peripherally involved with.

  • One you are lurking (you are on the mailing list but never post to it, or you just get the newsletter and never go to any meetings.

You can have more than three (you could have dozens) but each person should be prepared to write down three.


– Kaliya

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