Avoid the inside/outside trap!

Learn how to energize network opportunities!

The Future is With Others

We have already come a long way. We have identified and mastered key communication skill sets. We have learned how to manage group focus. We have tools that help us energize institutional arrangements by gamifying work. We are at Dave Logan’s “level 4. So are we done?

Well, we are doing well. But there is a problem still. The problem is one that Bill Gay famously identified a long time ago. Bill (who is one of the smartest guys around) famously said that “the smartest guys work for someone else”. In other words, our group and our institution is limited by the fact that it is a group or institution. That limitation is that we communicate most within the group and within the institution. We cut ourselves off from folks in other groups and other institutions. And what if those folks are indeed smarter than we are? We are missing out.

One more thing. Csikszentmihalyi brings this out. Creativity is at least in part a social process. In other words, our individual creativity means little if it has no social effects. What kinds of effects? It should enhance our understanding of a given domain (an area of expertise9. And we get that effect only by interactions with people who claim mastery of that domain. Right – we are now thinking about how to gamify our social learning via connecting.

So how do we connect more creatively? This is a matter of networking. And many think that the 21st century will be defined by the growing power of peer to peer networks. But what makes a network work? And can we learn how to be more effective networking agents? The importance of this is brought out in Chessbrough’s “Open innovation” business model. He argues that all business models need an inward and an outward focus. The outward focus is not just to connect with clients (though that is important). It is also to connect with potential partners across disciplines.  Across disciplines? Why do we need to do that? Because we know from James Burke that the best innovations come from making connections between different disciplines. So getting networking right is very, very important.

So what makes networks function? We will be looking closely at this in level 4 training. The good news is that the same skills that have taken us this far will help us master networking as well. We will just be adding one more touch to this mix. The ability to develop and share stories that create a strategic agenda that binds groups together.

Stuff to read

  • Organizing Genius, Warren Bennis
  • Steve Johnson
  • stuff about blockchain

Here are just a few questions that we are thinking about

  • Why don’t networks just develop on their own?
  • How does one find the right networks?
  • How does one create networks as needed?
  • What platforms work best to energize networks?

Here are some links that might interest you


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