In a world in which networks create knowledge and value, leadership involves designing and guiding these networks. In most hierarchical organizations, the task involves breaking the grip of silos by strengthening networks.
We’ve learned to distinguish among three types of networks: affinity networks (or interested communities), learning networks (or communities of practice) and innovating networks.
We are all part of more than one affinity network. We are fans of a sports teams, for example. In a company, all of the employees are part of a single affinity network. Here, people don’t necessarily know each other, but they share a common interest.
In learning networks, people know each other, and they’re willing to help each other learn: professional associations, for example.
Innovating networks are transformative. Here, participants master the art of recombinant Innovation (http://bit.ly/2o7Wt8Q) Forming innovating networks takes rigorous practice to develop shared habits and trust needed to innovate.
Leaders can break down silos by strengthening all three types of networks. But if they want to transform their organizations, only innovating networks will do the trick. That’s where Strategic Doing comes in. (Curious? You can start your journey here: http://bit.ly/2Kkwk19 )
The Founder of the Lab at UNA and co-author of Strategic Doing: 10 Skills for Agile Leadership, Ed’s work has focused on developing new models of strategy specifically designed to accelerate complex collaboration in networks and open innovation. He is the original developer of Strategic Doing.