The economic promise of connectedness




  1. Hi Roland. I would argue that before the Internet personal networking was THE way people connected and business got done. Connections with the ‘right’ people in the ‘right ‘echelons of society were of paramount importance and enabled individuals of mediocre talent but the right background (and therefore connections) to succeed to the detriment of better educated and skilled individuals without access to those same connections. Thankfully this has changed and the UK is now one of the more meritocratic societies where WHAT one knows is regarded as more important than WHO one knows.
    I do not believe you are advocating a return to bad old ways but a sort of ‘third-way’ that treats knowledge and networks as an integrated whole (your theory of everything?) and where one without the other would fail to have the desired or potential impact? Evidence of this can be seen today in the growing number of grads using LinkedIn and elsewhere to connect and position their recently obtained knowledge with the needs of the market in ever more creative ways. Our new connectedness is not the same as the old but I agree mastering and integrating it into the way we live, work and play is a great challenge and opportunity for us all.

  2. Thanks Brendan,
    You make a helpful distinction. I am certainly not suggesting we return to some kind of closed ‘old boys network’ rather a very open ‘any person network’, so yes a balancing of ‘what’ and ‘who’.
    We had a good session recently at Nesta with Karen Stephenson which touched upon this and I need to blog about which talked about integrating formal hierarchies and informal networks. Both are essential but understanding the difference and working them effectively is an emerging art.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.