Innovation is a social process, meaning all organisations that are seeking to innovate — whether large or small, public or private — can't afford to ignore social networks. Understanding the structures and dynamics of these networks – ‘it’s who you know as well as what you know’ – allows organisations to identify and mitigate the barriers to innovation.
Social Network Research Lab (SNRL)
We are a world-leader in the development and application of cutting-edge statistical models for social networks. As part of the Centre for Transformative Innovation, we have access to unique datasets and computational facilities supported by world-leading data scientists. We demonstrate in-depth understanding of the relationships and social processes that occur between people in organisations and answer questions such as:
- What is an effective alignment of informal social networks and formal organisational structures on innovation performance?
- How do we effectively transfer knowledge in geographically dispersed organisations?
- How is the culture of organisations influenced by informal social networks?
- What does an effective network look like?
We use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to visually map networks. We specialise in statistical modelling of networks to identify the structural patterns that such maps may not make clear. In doing so, our team provides unparalleled insights into the structure and effectiveness of networks. Our network techniques provide decision-makers with evidence-based insights from which they can pursue targeted interventions for their organisation or community.
The Social Network Research Lab is a founding member of the Australian Network for Social Network Analysis (ANSNA), a community that aims to build greater coordination and collaboration among social network researchers and practitioners in Australia and overseas. We’re also one of two nodes of Melnet, the Melbourne-based consortium of universities expert in social network analysis.
Networks and organisations
Innovation is a social process, so we use social network analysis to understand the informal social interactions between people that underpin innovation, knowledge transfer and effective collaborations within organisations.
Network effectiveness and network intervention
Relationships matter, but how? Network effectiveness focuses on how different network structures are effective for various goals and how they are important for the organisations and communities in which these networks are embedded. How we make changes to networks is through network interventions — by changing social ties, for example, due to COVID-19 and social distancing.
New insights to networks come from the development of new methods. These new methods must be based on real and appropriate theories of how the world works. We develop state-of-the-art statistical models for social networks that bring method and theory closer together so that we can apply these models for maximum insight and impact.
Find out more about statistic network models.
COVID-19 spread in Melbourne 2020
See an animation that demonstrates the speed and far reach of COVID-19 spread throughout Melbourne from March to October 2020 and is a stark reminder to Victorians to continue to practice physical distancing and follow isolation/quarantine orders. The animation was created by Associate Professor Peng Wang, Professor Dean Lusher and Dr Giovanni Radhitio Sadewo and commissioned by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
The Social Network Research Lab has a range of current and past projects.
Current research projects