“There is a central difference between the old and new economies:
the old industrial economy was driven by economies of scale;
the new information economy is driven by the economics of networks…”
by Carl Shapiro, Hal R. Varian
Communities of practice
It has long been recognized that big institutions tend to divide organically into informal collaborative networks, called communities of practice.
For example, colleagues in one department might all tend to consult one particularly useful person in another department, linking the group into a community of practice. Such collaborations are very common in scientific research. Groups in different universities share information, skills and expertise to solve problems.
That’s cool as far as it goes, although I doubt that email alone will produce reliable maps since F2F communication is probably more vital.
How might this automated mapping be used?
Yesterday I played around with a couple of web-link mappers. Touchgraph is a mapping engine. One application points Touchgraph at Google. I entered “InternetTime.com” and received a clickable map of sites with at least two reciprocal links.
Someone else pointed Touchgraph at Amazon. I put in the title of Lance’s and my book on eLearning to generate this map of “people who bought this book also bought…”
Valdis Krebs is the leader in applying these mapping techniques to organizations. His bio says, “Valdis is a management consultant and the developer of InFlow, a software based, organization network analysis methodology that maps and measures knowledge exchange, information flow, communities of practice, networks of alliances and other networks within and between organizations.”
I love this line: “If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is an interactive model of your organization or industry worth?”
Steven Johnson has a delightful article on Krebs and related projects in this month’s issue of Discover.
The program was featured as a work of art in a gallery show in New York City in the summer of 2002. But the data it represents are culled from mundane sources: the addresses of e-mail messages sent or received. By looking at the names of people whom you send messages to or receive them from, and who gets cc’d or bcc’d on those messages, the software builds a portrait of your social networks. If you often send messages to your entire family, the software will draw links between the names of all the people you’ve included in those messages; if you cc a few colleagues on a message to an important client, it will connect those names as well.
from New Scientist.
How can managers improve the connectivity within their organization? Here are a few places to get started:
What is connected knowledge? A competitive advantage! Your competition may duplicate the nodes in your organization, but not the pattern of connections that have emerged through sense-making, feedback and learning within your business network. And if you get Vancho’s take on Einstein’s formula correct, then connected knowledge is pure energy!
In the 1992 U.S. presidential race, one simple phrase refocused and re-ignited a jumbled campaign effort by Bill Clinton - “It’s the economy, stupid”. Adaptive businesses see the benefits in managing connected organizations. We can adapt the old campaign slogan to reflect the new network reality - “It’s the connections, stupid!”
30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708
1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)
Subscribe to this Blog
Our Infrequent Newsletter
Entries by category...
Recycled from Blogger
Internet Time Group
© 2004 Internet Time Group
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
ASTD Silicon Valley
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
RSS Feed for New Site
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Damn, damn, double damn
The New Religion
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Business Process Management Conference
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
New Community of Practice Forming
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
The Alchemy of Growth
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics