Collaboration & Networks

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How IBM Builds Vibrant Social Communities

“I see IBM as a social business,” says Jeff Schick, IBM’s vice president of social software for IBM. “We’ve broken down the barriers of reaching out to the people within the organization” — not to mention partners and clients as well. And the company is making it easier for its client companies to do the same thing.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Loving Earth.

Why Strong Ties Matter More In a Fast-Changing Environment

It has become accepted wisdom that weak ties — your acquaintances, distant colleagues — can provide more novel information than close ties. But new research by Marshall Van Alstyne, associate professor at Boston University and a visiting professor at MIT, suggests that in some cases strong ties are better.



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The Top Five Habits of Effective Network Builders

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“Open-source projects and grassroots collective action are important sources of inspiration for 21st-century civic engagement,” says a new report, “Connected Citizens,” by Monitor Institute and Knight Foundation. The report looked at 70 projects and highlights five patterns for good network building.



The Collaborative Organization: How to Make Employee Networks Really Work

CIOs who learn to balance formal and informal structures can create global IT organizations that are more efficient and innovative than organizations that rely primarily on formal mechanisms. Organizational network analysis provides a useful methodology for helping executives assess broader patterns of informal networks between individuals, teams, functions and organizations, and for identifying targeted steps to align networks with strategic imperatives.


A Billion Brains are Better Than One

MIT Sloan’s Thomas W. Malone, author of The Future of Work, says that the smartest companies will use emerging technology to tap the power of many. Wikipedia and YouTube are the best-known examples of “collective intelligence,” where many people create a lot of different things independently. "Executives and everybody else knows about the new kinds of technologies that keep popping up," says Malone. "But there’s a key perspective that a lot of people don’t really get yet, which is that these new technologies change the essence of organizations."

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