Companies are moving away from centralized, monolithic organizational models to more distributed, more modular network-centric organizational structures. Networks help companies become more flexible and help them scale their connections with customers, partners and other external stakeholders.
I foresee a new generation of companies that will use networks not just to improve their operations, but to bring more accountability into their organization. The result will be a wave of economic democratization with important implications not just for the firm, but for society as well.
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Companies need to move beyond the old, mechanistic strategies for connecting and collaborating. To thrive today, they must now look to the biology-inspired strategies of networks. This is the evolution of the firm – a move away from the self-reliance of yesterday, to the radical connectedness of today.
Trust makes networks work. When trust is high among members of a network, there’s a wonderful cohesiveness and capacity to get work done. When it’s low and relationships are plagued by suspicion, networks collapse into brittle organizational structures that rarely offset their operational costs in real world outcomes.
Twitter is not a social network. It’s a “real-time information network” and once you see it that way, its competitive edges look a lot closer to Google than Facebook. Facebook is a social network utility, while Twitter is a social network application with real-time information as its end goal.