December 3, 2018
“Scarcity alters how we look at things; it makes us choose differently; … our single-mindedness leads us to neglect things we actually value.”
-Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir, Scarcity: The New Science of Having Less and How It Defines Our Lives
Image by geckzilla, shared under provisions of Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0.
A few weeks ago, the inimitable Seth Godin wrote a blog post about “the magnetic generosity of the network effect.” In the post, he talks about how a “scarcity mindset” can impact our willingness to share ideas. This can happen, says Seth, when we treat ideas as if we were sharing a pizza. But ideas are not pizza slices. Ideas can grow, inspire, flourish. Ideas when offered freely can give birth to innovation; in dialogue they can create even better ideas. The exchange of ideas can grow energy and enthusiasm among sharers and recipients. This is central to the notion of “network effect” – as a network grows, so does the potential of the network. It’s potential grows. Having connections is only as good as what gets shared through those connections, and in which directions. In other words, networks are made valuable not just through connectivity, but through generosity and mutuality.
I work with some groups, aspiring to be networks for change, that struggle with what I would call an “organizational mindset” in their work. Their tendency is to want to immediately put structure and boundaries on what they are doing – who is in, who is out; how we will make decisions; what committees need to be formed, who has what kind of power, etc. This is not necessarily a bad thing, except when it is driven by a scarcity mindset, an overly protectionist stance that can result in the hoarding and unwillingness to share things that are not scarce – ideas, appreciation, a skill, gratitude, love, an image, a tune – and whose sharing can create the richness of emergence and greater abundance. Read More
April 26, 2016
In many rooms where networks are the topic of conversation, a typical question of interest is “Who is connected to whom?” This is an important question, often the focus of social network analysis (SNA), and can lead to important and strategic information about things like hubs, gatekeepers, strong and weak ties, etc. And this is not the full extent of useful inquiry when thinking about social change.
Another important question is, “What is flowing?” That is, what kinds of value are flowing through these connections with respect to information, natural capital, money, cultural expression, etc. This is the focus of value network analysis (VNA) and is important to help understand the overall vitality and health of a network or system. Read More
October 9, 2013
|Photo by USDAGov|http://www.flickr.com/photos/41284017@N08/7740419400/in/photolist-cMZF1U-9bjsio-9ZTS3b-9UWk5k-fomtZ4-9UYk2h-agjHzA-agjHTo-ajSoZJ-agBMia-ajSogU-ajPA7r-9X7pyg-9UVcQZ-9UVnmz-9UVof4-9X1Gip-9ZTSSh-9X1S7v-9X4syC-9ZQZbV-9X1Mbc-9UVktD-9UVqix-9UVrU6-9UYipj-9X1Kh2-9X1PgP-9X1SSH-9X1QhF-9ZQZSx-a4uQan-9X4DWN-9X1Eut-9X4va3-9X1CqT-9X1HtB-9X4x9W-a4xKTw-9X1BKF-9X1R5e-a4uUin-a4uPkp-ccXodW|
I am increasingly interested in how networks can help to reclaim and reshape marketplaces, bringing them back down to earth and keeping them more stimulating of local economies, helping give value to what is not formally valued, as well as shifting and restructuring flows for greater equity and abundance. So I was delighted to get a number of tips on this front from Lawrence CommunityWorks during a visit there last week. Staff and residents shared a number of ways in which they help to identify and exchange assets as a part of daily operations. For example, here is an exercise called “Marketplaces” which comes from Bill Traynor. Read More