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Patterns of Tension: Cultivating Creativity in Networks


Our ancestors were skinny little things that
couldn’t run very fast or fly, no claws, no venom, but they could band together. Coordination, cooperation, and collaboration,
those are all part of our humans developed a culture that’s distinctly different from
all of the other species on planet Earth. Traditionally, people have organized into
hierarchies to achieve efficiency at scale. Think empires, armies, organizations. But in today’s uncertain and fast changing
world, it seems that efficiency is no longer enough. It’s now becoming critical to stay flexible,
to constantly adapt, to organize rapidly around new and unexpected challenges, and to draw
on and share our collective knowledge and creativity. So, how do we do this? Networks. Network. Networks. Networks. Over the last two and a half, three decades,
what we’ve seen has been this rise of networks that are using the technologies of the web
to collaborate, to coordinate, and to create. Networks have the potential to unlock exponential
value. It’s much more about connecting with people
in other parts of the organization, in external to the organization as well. And these diverse networks give them access
to all sorts of novel information that helps them be creative. There’s always somebody that knows something
better than you, and that keeps it vibrant. I know as a leader, I wouldn’t have learned
as much if only my ideas were being manifested. We can benefit from shifting to something
that’s much less territorial, and much more collective. The sparks just start flying. That spawns other networks. The scale of possibility is changed
in magnitude. It’s not linear growth, it’s exponential growth,
and this really becomes the network effect. From organizations and knowledge workers,
to scientists solving global epidemics, to social movements making change, networks harness
human energy naturally by bringing together around a shared purpose. The organizations that are making investments
in this now, are gonna be phenomenally successful, and the ones that don’t make those investments,
just frankly won’t exist, probably within 15, 20 years. But networks are less predictable than hierarchies. They’re less controllable, and they’re always
changing. And they raise a lot of questions. How do we allow ideas to flow freely, but
still set boundaries? How do we lead and create trust in a shifting
network? How do we cultivate creativity and engagement? To understand how value in created in networks,
we decided to connect with experts and practitioners from around the world. Join us on our journey of discovery.

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