Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Innovation at the Intersections: Many-To-Many Connections

Timothy Chester identified in his blog The Accidental CIO that the nature of collaboration has shifted, it has shifted from one-to-many exchanges to many-to-many exchanges (Chester, MOOCs, 2013). The examples used for one-to-many was the traditional classroom setting in which the teacher presents knowledge to students. In the corporate setting the same could be said of certain hierarchical levels in which the upper levels dictate to the lower levels.
Competing in this complex environment requires new knowledge, innovative ideas, and exchanges that take place within the organization as well as outside of an organization. In their blog on Social Capital, TNT - The Network Thinkers discussed this same idea in the framework of social capital: “Creating competitive context requires social capital - the ability to find, utilize and combine the skills, knowledge and experiences of others, inside and outside of your organization” (Social Capital). Having the ability to utilize and find knowledge requires many-to-many exchanges.
As explained by TNT - The Network Thinkers, “Innovation happens at the intersections” (Social Capital). The intersections refer to the numerous connections made between the many, as opposed to the intersections in a one-to-many connection. You can see that more connections are possible in a many-to-many connection compared to a one-to-many connection. As these connections increase the number of intersections increase, and the potential for new knowledge and innovative ideas grow exponentially.
Expand your current network so that you are taking full advantage of the many-to-many connections rather than utilizing the one-to-many connections. To do this TNT - The Network Thinkers offer some steps to take in their article Community Networks. First, identify your current structure. Know where there are gaps, bridges, linchpins, and identify who is the core of the network and who is in the periphery (Community Networks). Secondly, begin closing the gaps by inviting and including all members within the network to contribute.

Chester, T. (January 18, 2013). Why MOOCs are like Farmville. The Accidental CIO. Retrieved from www.accidentalcio.com/2013/01/why-moocs-are-like-farmville-html
Community Networks (October, 12, 2012). TNT-The Network Thinkers. Retrieved from www.thenetworkthinkers.com/2012/10/community-networks.html
Social Capital: the key to success in the connected age (July, 04, 2012). TNT-The Network Thinkers. Retrieved from www.thenetworkthinkers.com/2012/07/social-capital-key-to-success-in.html

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