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What is Ripple Effect Mapping?

Ripple Effect Mapping (REM), uses elements of Appreciative Inquiry, mind mapping, and qualitative data analysis to reflect upon and visually map the intended and unintended changes produced by a complex program or collaboration. It is a powerful technique to document impacts, and engage stakeholders.

Examples of impacts might be: the inception of a school garden, a noticeable increase in different kinds of people working together, new training programs, a community becoming able to move through previously intractable conflicts, new collaborations of all sorts, people becoming sensitized to important concepts they were previously insensitive to (such as privilege, differing worldviews, etc.)

Why map ripple effects?

  • To increase insight into both intended and unintended consequences of convening activities.
  • To learn what works well and not so well across the range of engagements.
  • To facilitate the broader system beginning to see itself.
  • To identify areas of unmet need.
  • To foster greater connectivity across groups.
  • To garner resources from funders.
  • To support meaningful research
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Examples of Ripple Effects

What are some examples of ripple effects of convening?

We plan to gather many examples on May 9 and online starting now. We’re interested in the entire lifecycle of convening: the initial conversations, the initiatives that follow, and the outcomes, intended and unintended.

Effects from convening show up in many arenas:

“Bricks and Sticks” Built Environment – Community conversation around sex trafficking jumpstarts the building of new housing for women seeking to rebuild their lives.

Cultural Resources  –  Small group of high school students responds to racial unrest in their school by hosting student-led conversations that generate new understanding, solutions and action from the administration.

Economic Vitality – Series of conversations leads to the creation of a program that helps thousands of Minnesotans become homeowners, start small businesses and go back to school.

Leadership Everywhere  – Leadership development program creates opportunities for congregations, clergy and people of faith to come together and discuss ways to collectively improve racial and economic equity.

Natural Environment – Grassroots organization hosts community dialogue sessions that shift public opinion and generate cross-sector support for the removal of non-functioning river dams, setting the conditions for improved water quality and habitat.

Political Influence – State agency, in collaboration with a community-initiated credit union, hosts a series of statewide listening sessions that results in a legislative agenda to address poverty.

Social Glue (connections across people and organizations) – Coalition of twenty organizations and agencies that serve families with preschool children in the same region host conversations to develop shared definitions of success, and create more opportunities for success together than they would have separately.

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Ripple Effect Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Seeking Stories of Convening for Transforming: A conversation about what it takes to move from convening conversations to transforming communities, and how we can move from talking to action that makes a difference

 What do we mean by convening?

Gathering people together for a conversation that will enable them to make progress on issues they care about

What do we mean by transforming communities?

Significant and sustained changes that people in the community would recognize as positive progress

What kinds of stories are we looking for?

Stories about how community conversations have contributed to changes, impacts and influences in a community. Convening conversation is like dropping a pebble in the pond of a community. We’re looking for stories to help us better understand the large and small, direct and indirect ripples that come out of these conversations.

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Sample of one way we’ll use this information

Share your convening stories

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