Centre for Transformative Innovation

Social network analysis

Innovation is a social process. Organisations, large and small, public and private, seeking to innovate cannot afford to ignore networks.

Understanding the structures and dynamics of these networks allows organisations to identify and mitigate the barriers to innovation.

Social Network Research Lab

Swinburne’s Social Network Research Lab is a world-leader in the development and application of cutting-edge statistical models for social networks.

To develop a better understanding of the relationships and social processes that occur in an organisation, we answer questions such as:

  • How do social networks in my organisation align with our formal organisational structures and what effect does this have on innovation?
  • My organisation is geographically dispersed.  How do I know that knowledge is diffused effectively?
  • How do informal networks influence the culture of my organisation?

We use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to visually map your networks. We also apply statistical network models to identify what the eye cannot see and provide unparalleled insights into your organisation. These network models provide decision makers with an evidence-base to pursue strategic and economically sound directions for your organisation.

Speak to us about how we can work with your organisation by emailing Professor Dean Lusher on dlusher@swinburne.edu.au


Our clients include Boeing, CSIRO, AFL and many others.

Research areas

Social infrastructure of innovation

Innovation is a social process, and we use social network analysis to understand the formal and informal social interactions between people and organisations that underpin innovation.

Network effectiveness

Relationships matter, but how? Network effectiveness focuses on how different network structures are effective for various goals, not just for individuals, but importantly for the organisations and communities in which these networks are embedded.

Network theory and methods

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.


Swinburne’s Social Network Research Lab has a range of current and past projects.

Current research projects

Past projects

Courses and conferences

Research team

Research team



Areas of research

Professor Dean Lusher

Professor of Innovation Studies

Networked innovation; networks and organisations, network effectiveness, organisational culture

Dr Peng Wang

Senior Research Fellow

Networks methods and statistical network models; networks and organisations

Professor Michael Gilding

Faculty Pro Vice-Chancellor

Networks and organisations; networked innovation; network dynamics and diffusion

Dr Colin Gallagher

Postdoctoral Fellow

Networks and organisations (health and education)

Dr James Coutinho

Research Fellow Networks and organisations; network effectiveness; networked innovation

Dr Maedeh Aboutalebi

Research Fellow Networks and education

Dr Libo Liu

Lecturer, Information Systems

Online networks and markets

Professor John Webb

Professorial Fellow

Networked innovation

Professor Thomas Spurling

Professorial Fellow

Networked innovation

Vikki Bunton

Research Support Officer

Networks, qualitative methods and ethics

Professor Garry Robins

Adjunct Professor

Networks theory and methods; network effectiveness; networks and organisations

Dr Julia Brennecke

Adjunct Researcher

Networks and organisations, multilevel network applications

Dr Till Klein

Adunct Researcher

Networked innovation; network dynamics and diffusion

Dr Julien Brailly

Adunct Researcher

Networks and organisations, multilevel network applications

Jean-Francois Desvignes

PhD candidate

Networked innovation; knowledge networks

Adam Finch

PhD candidate

Networked innovation

Sarah King

PhD candidate

Networked innovation; Networks and organisations

Bopha Roden

PhD candidate

Networks and commercialisation; networks and marketing

Andrew Terhorst

PhD candidate

Networked innovation