These are the notes, slides and suggested further reading for the lecture I’m giving today at Warwick Business School as part of its Complexity, Management & Network Thinking business module entitled Networks Thinking: Adapting for Complexity.
Networks became a focus for me about seven years ago, as I began to look at the effect that social networks and the web were having on the industries I was working in, marketing communications and media. The more I learned about networks, the more it seemed to me that they were incredibly important in re-thinking how our business worked – the business of attracting attention, essentially – and that they were important both as the cause and context of disruption we were experiencing (and would continue to experience for some years to come).
When it came to media and marketing, channels were being replaced (displaced, disrupted) by networks as the dominant model. The implications were profound for industries that had been built on building big channels, for big audiences with big advertisements and big budgets attached.
At iCrossing, the digital agency which gave me a home and let me develop a social media and content practice, we started re-designing the whole process of brand communications, from research through to measurement, with three principles
- Understand your networks
- Be useful to your networks
- Be present in your networks
It became clear very quickly, that once you started to adapt your customer communications to the new reality of networks, you started to look at the rest of the business very differently and that the impact of networks, the need to adapt to the age of networks, was going to be felt throughout the organisation. Networks were disrupting the existing media and communications models so much that soon politics, commerce, culture and society as a whole would begin to feel its effects.
Networks are a model for managing complexity
Some of the topics and themes addressed in the talk include…
- Embracing complexity
- Scales from individual, to team, to division to team…
- Understand networks (& then your networks)
- Develop organisational and personal networks literacy
- Networks thinking: design for networks
- Beginning to lay down principles
- As well as understanding… your networks… principles…
- Presence first, process second: more important to be in play and prepared…
- Quote: “CEOs see a large gap between the level of complexity coming at them and their confidence that their enterprises are equipped to deal with it.” Capitalizing on Complexity, IBM Global CEO Study 2010
- Havana Car Syndrome story: The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity and the Radical Re-making of Economics, Eric Beinhocker
- Edge-to-core: from The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion, by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison http://goo.gl/Rjbml
- Facebook network visualisation: Blog post by Paul Butler, an intern at Facebook who created the network map
- Interview with John Hagel about the concept of Twitter as a “serendipity engine”
- Blog post (in Chinese) about the translation of What is Social Media? into Chinese – which I also wrote about in a post called The Magic of Network Effects
- The Pomodoro Technique’s home page.
- A fuller explanation of the concept of web “super skills” from a talk at TEDx Brighton.
- Haiti “assemblage” is discussed in Dan McQuillan’s talk in the video in this post about Brighton CityCamp.
- The Haiti infographic and an explanation can be found on the Ushahidi blog
- P&G’s outside innovation’s public face is its Connect+Develop website. This article in Bloomberg BusinessWeek about A.G. Lafley’s outside innovation book is also useful on this topic.
- Two blog I wrote on posts on Cisco’s use of networks: Cisco Still All About the Networks and Command and Control is Dead. There is a video of John Chambers talking about his approach at MIT’s Wirearchy blog.
- The infographic of Cisco’s approach and some further very useful commentary can be found at Raph D’Amico’s blog.
- The “architecture” for a networks-thinking influenced campaign was created while at iCrossing UK
Recommended reading (some already cited as sources):
- The Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity and the Radical Re-making of Economics, Eric Beinhocker
- Conected: The Surprising Power of our Social Networks, by Christakis & Fowler http://goo.gl/yYPH0
- Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age, by Duncan Watts
- Linked: How Everthing is Connected to Everything Else and What It Means for Business and Everyday Life by Alberto Laszlo Barabasi
- Brands in Networks, Antony Mayfield (iCrossing free e-book)
- Me and My Web Shadow: How to manage your reputation online, by Antony Mayfield
- Change by Design, by Tim Brown – Explanation of design thinking by the founder of IDEO.
- http://www.rheingold.com/ – Collection of blogs and writings of futurist and digital literacy pioneer, Howard Rheingold
- Edge Perspectives – John Hagel, author of The Power of Pull and Co-Chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge
- http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/ Dan McQuillan, lecturer in Creative and Social Computing at Goldsmiths