"...competitive advantage is no longer the sum of all efficiencies but the sum of all connections. To win in today’s connected economy, you need to deepen and widen networks."
...small world networks...form naturally. The best way to build them is to stop inhibiting them.
1. Networks Are Usually Not Random, But Structured
Small world networks are very powerful because they manage information incredibly well. ...they shrink distance, so connections feel very local, but also scale globally. Just by getting in touch with a friend who, in turn, calls another friend, you are actually sorting through thousands of small, coherent groups with important information.
...small world networks...are essentially organic and form naturally. The best way to build them is to stop inhibiting them. In a study of Silicon Valley firms, ....a law curbing non-compete agreements [was found to enhance] connectivity and innovation in the industry.
2. Social Networks Can Be Quantified And Mathematically Analyzed
...social network analysis techniques have become highly advanced... these techniques became highly publicized when it leaked out that the NSA was using metadata to map terrorist networks, but in reality the agency has been using social network analysis since at least 2001. After 9/11, it was able to publicly release not only the identities of the hijackers, but their leadership structure as well.
...in business...Valdis Krebs of Orgnet ...advises firms to look beyond the hierarchy represented in organizational charts and focus on the “wirearchy” of informal relationships...yielding practical results. In one case, he used network analysis to help a firm integrate after a merger. In another, his analysis identified crucial subject matter experts that were planning retirement and helped his client take steps to alleviate the damage.
3. Network Structure Determines Organizational Performance
In a study of Broadway plays, researchers found that if the cast and crew had never worked together before, performance suffered. The more preexisting relationships, the better the plays did—up to a point—and then performan...ce would decline.
MIT’s Sandy Pentland ...develop[ed] a wearable device ... the sociometer, which tracks human interactions in everyday environments. He’s found that even tracking the amount—not the content—improv[es] productivity. ...at a call center, he advised management to schedule working groups to take breaks together, ...and increased productivity by $15 million. In other settings, [simply] increasing the length of lunch tables—to encourage more mixing—made for measurable gains.
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