Thursday, 11 February 2016

Create webs not stars

When interacting with the people and organisations you are trying to work with and support it is important to create a rich network of relationships and connections. This is best done by creating web rather than star networks. 

For example, if you form relationships only with those easily or directly within reach this network shape is the most likely to emerge:


As you can see, it is reliant upon a central hub (yourself) and is very shallow in terms of reach. It also tends to reinforce the isolation of each relationship within the network. As well as a star shape being created, you are made the 'star of the show': the star upon which the whole network and whatever it produces depends.

Web networks are very different. If you look beyond those easily or directly within reach and also encourage the people and organisations you reach to reach out to each other and others whom they know, this network shape is the most likely to emerge:

As you can see, there are more relationships in the network and its reach is beginning to become substantial: the network is beginning to form around more than one hub; each person or community within the network is more likely to have a relationship with others in the network (or know someone who has a relationship with someone else in the network); outlying individuals and groups are beginning to be brought into the network.

You are no longer the star of the show but one key hub in a multi-hub network which can draw more easily upon an ever-increasing cast list of actors who can play a part in what the collaboration does and produces.

The above shows that by reaching out to those not so easily or immediately within reach and encouraging network members to speak to each other and reach out to others whom they know, an intricate web network is created which is richer, deeper and more resilient than the 'star of the show' network.

So, create webs not stars.