Networking – Art or Science

“Network Science will be the foundation of the 21st Century” so says Albert Laszlo Barabasi – Professor of Physics at Notre Dame Uni in a new Australian produced documentary which screened last weekend on Discovery Channel in the US.

While Aussie Duncan Watts – Sociology Professor at Columbia tells us “Nothing is more practical than a good theory.”

Having watched the doco “Connected: the real matrix”, which  is avail in 4 parts on You Tube I must agree. The promo I have added to this blog will give you enough to evoke your interest I am sure.

The timing for me was interested as I have had a series of events over the past few weeks that have lead me to form similar opinions…

My Daughter is reading Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – a favourite of mine, I am working on a project which has scientists in Aust collaborating on a break thorough based on info published on the net from scientists in the UK and Russia and then the Bush fires in Victoria.

All made me think through the how and why of Networks … The Tipping Point with mavens, salesmen, Connectors etc is really about Networks and how they start fashion trends and epidemics.  The collaboration work would not be possible for the scientists without some form of powerful network…. and how they all met … another case of 6 degrees of separation.

But what have the Bushfires got to do with all this .  Well they result in an incredible network being formed to deal with the fire and the outcomes … from the CFA and Police to the RSPCA and the Army not to mention the local builder, truck driver etc … there are a variety of disparate resources that need to work in harmony.

The doco contrasts Bandar Aceh and Cyclone Katrina as examples of successful and not so successful networks coming together,  I wonder where the Victorian Bushfires will rate in terms of networking … the resources are there but are the politics in place.

So after considering all of this I agree that in our business we need to understand the science of networks rather than just practice the art of harnessing their power.