The Sustainable Network Model

As 9 out of 10 networks fail, including social networks, virtual communities and business clusters, I decided to start developing some "Sustainable Network Model" techniques to predict if a network has the necessary ingredients before huge amounts of effort are expended in vain.

the_sustainable.jpg

Photo: Rubik's cube

I am thinking primarily about networks which are voluntary and self-sustaining rather than networks which are mandatory for participants as a result of their business or profession.

In a previous article, Design better social software using Living Systems Theory, I looked at networks as living biological systems and the 4 key components which need to be in place for them to thrive.

In this article I present a short introduction on how you can assess the viability and sustainability of a network from a human communications and interactions viewpoint:


Network Dialogs

There are 3 basic types of dialogues humans have with each other:

1. TCB (Taking Care of Business) - getting things done
2. Grooming - Nurturing relationships through trivia and small talk
3. Emoting - Sharing how we feel - good and bad

Proposition#1: A viable network needs to have all 3 types of dialogue present. There may be a dominant dialog but the other two must also be present to certain minimum levels if the network is to be self-sustaining.


Network Encounters

Network participation is a group activity - not just a one to one thing - it seems to me that there are 3 ways we can encounter others as we have our network dialogues:

a. 1:1 (one to one) - a two party conversation
b. 1:M (one to many) - one person is talking to a group
c. M:M (many to many) - a group where all members are talking with each other

Proposition#2: A viable network needs to have all 3 types of encounter present. There may be a dominant type of encounter but the other two must also be present to certain minimum levels if the network is to be self-sustaining.


Network Channels

There are 3 main channels we can use for these dialogues:

x. Speech - over the phone or face to face
y. eMail/Web - any form of asynchronous communications
z. Messaging - any form of real-time communications via web or mobile phone

Proposition#3: Some channels are better for some dialogs than others and some are better for some encounters than others. However if all the Dialogs and Encounters need to be present to some degree then this implies all the channels also need to be present to some degree.


A 3-Dimensional Network Sustainability Model

So if you put all this together you get a 3-dimensional view of a potential network as shown in the Rubik's cube at the top of the article.

To make things easier we can start by looking at any network as a simple matrix and creating a Network Heatmap for it, for example:

Sustainable%20Network%20Model.gif


To illustrate this lets look at a few very simple 'caricature' examples:

  • Voluntary Professional Networks
    These networks often fixate on the TCB Dialog with no room for Grooming or Emoting - in fact these latter two dialogs might be positively banned or frowned upon.

  • Web-only Networks
    Networks which only use the eMail/Web channel but don't allow Speech or Mobile Messaging make it very hard for their members to Groom or Emote.

  • I-centric Networks
    These networks present the rest of the community mainly as a resource which I can draw upon. Thus they support 1:1 and 1:M encounters but neglecting the M:M encounters which can be great for building group relationships.


Conclusions

Viewing a proposed network using the 3 dimensions of communications can be a powerful way to spot and fix obstacles and problems to sustainability before the network gets off the ground. What you are really looking for is a SUN (Sustainable Unified Network)!

In a future article I will examine network sustainability from other perspectives such as the extent of 'Face to face' (F2F) and unifying force (e.g. money, relationships or advancement).


Tags: , ,

Comments (0)| Related (3) |

Print this article

Leave a comment

 


Bioteams Books Reviews

Mobile business applications framework

Mobile business applications framework

In a just published book Work Goes Mobile by Michael Lattanzi, Antti Korhonen and Vishy Gopalakrishnan, authors of Nokia’s mobility master plan, propose a very useful application profiling scheme to establish the degree to which a business could exploit mobile technologies in their broadest sense. This approach would also be very useful for establishing the support requirements for virtually networked teams.


Buy it now from:
Amazon.Com
Amazon.Co.UK


Comments (2) |

continue reading

Click here to check all Bioteams book reviews

Ken's LinkedIn Profile



Follow Ken's Blogs



NASA Widget2_160x40.jpg

KenThompson


Featured Categories

Trending Topics

agility analytics ants autopoiesis bees biomimicry bioteaming bioteams change management Collaboration collaboration collective intelligence community complex systems dashboards digital dashboards ecosystems excel experiential learning flock games high-performing teams innovation leadership learning meetings mobile phones organizational teams penguins pheromones self-managed teams serious games simulators social media Social Networks social networks social software swarm swarm intelligence swarmteams teamwork The Networked Enterprise tit for tat VEN videos virtual communities virtual enterprise virtual enterprise networks virtual teams visualization web2.0 wisdom of crowds

Click for more...

Featured Article

Team joining hands

The secret DNA of high-performing virtual teams

Bioteaming – the secret to high-performing, self-organising, virtually networked teams... more

Locations of visitors to this page

Bioteams iphone app
Bioteams android app

Search www.bioteams.com


Bioteams Lite

FeedWind

Latest Full Articles


Bioteams Assessor - Instantly check how good your team is?
BioScore Calculator – Instantly see if you need Bioteams
Discover Bioteams principles Yourself via Action Learning

Bioteams Manifesto

Communities and Networks Connection

Bioteams Ice-Breaker Zone

Only Fools and Horses Video Clip Funny Team Collaboration Video Dilbert Mission Statement Generator Ali G Video Funny Red Dwarf Video  FatherTed  Pixar

News Feed

Sign up for RSS   RSS Feed Subscription
        (What's RSS?)

10 Most popular posts

Recent posts

Archives

Download Browsealoud