One of my current obsessions is how to design and use networks that accelerate learning within a group. To be more precise, not just to share ideas between really, really smart people, but to help people level up by joining and participating in a group.
Think about this for a second. Ask yourself, why are some localities locked in poverty? Sometimes it is because they are physically isolated from markets that could bring them prosperity. But that does not explain urban poverty. In that setting, physical barriers may play a role in isolating people, but they are not the only barrier. Even if the poor can mix in with their more well to do neighbors, they do not share the same learning curves. They are locked out for other reasons. Something else has to happen in order for them to catch up.
That is an extreme example of a problem that may be widespread. We are getting used to the idea that certain localities are evolving into “innovation hubs”. These places draw in creative people and eccelerate the rate of innovation that occcurs there. So what happens to localities that are not innovation hubs? They do not participate in the networks that create the most value added. They will not share the same level of prosperity. They may stagnate or worse.
So how do learning networks work? The first step is to get a handle on basic network concepts themselves. From that you can start understanding what affects what I call “network momentum”. I will be posting on network momentum as I get deeper into this theme.