Networks and Networking

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Beyond a ‘Winner-Takes-All’ Strategy for Platforms

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Platform companies with the largest user networks offer significant value for consumers. Yet total network size isn’t the only key to competitive advantage; platform users may place equal or greater weight on having access to specific, local, or higher-quality platform users or information about the network or its participants.

The Truth About Behavioral Change

In this article drawn from his new book, How Behavior Spreads, UPenn professor Damon Centola explains how the thinking about social networks is changing. Recent research reveals that depending on long-established concepts such as “weak ties” and “long bridges” to drive the adoption of new innovations and organizational change can be a prescription for failure.

The Ability to Navigate the In-Between Spaces

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Efforts to effectively connect decision-makers in large organizations across functions, divisions, and business units — not to mention with other companies, governments, and other external stakeholders — usually require organizational innovations. Several key leadership attributes are necessary for this to work. They include the ability to navigate the gaps not covered by specialists, a record of following through and getting things done, and knowledge of other cultures, including the ability to speak multiple languages.

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Why Businesses and Governments Need to Stop Trying to Secure Their Networks

Moving to a zero-trust network, where all the services an organization needs are hosted in the cloud, is the most secure IT option. Most network breaches are caused by human error: People forget their laptops in bathrooms and cabs, connect to insecure public Wi-Fi, click on emails they shouldn’t, and download attachments carrying malware. The only way to manage this threat is to dismantle the privileged intranet and treat every login as a potential threat.

The Secret to Successful Knowledge Seeding

Launching a peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform is not easy. Online support forums have two distinct segments: those who seek product support, and those who provide it. Knowledge seekers are hesitant to ask questions if knowledge contributors are few and far between, and knowledge contributors will not sign up if there are not enough problems to solve. It is a classic chicken or egg challenge that can be effectively addressed by seeding the platform with expert knowledge.

Maximizing the Impact of Enterprise Social Media

Companies adopt enterprise social media (ESM) platforms in the hope that employees will reap the benefits of knowledge sharing, collaboration, and efficiency. But the technical and cultural disconnect between ESM and the rest of the internal IT systems and digital platforms that employees use daily means that less than 50% of ESM platforms are actually used by employees on a regular basis.

Tangled Webs and Executive Naïveté

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Leaders in a digital world have to navigate more complexity than ever before, where a problem that arises in one node of such network work can spread easily, with widespread adverse impact. But complexity-induced problems often have similar fundamental causes — and similar solutions. Leaders can ameliorate the effects of complexity by developing broader, not just deeper, perspectives; learning to think in terms of scenarios; and being clear about strategic intent.

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We Must Rescue ‘Win-Win’ From Its Buzzword Status

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Companies tend to compete not as individual entities, but as members of networks — which makes collaboration a strategic necessity, not merely a tactical choice. But while many executives say they want win-win solutions, in reality, they usually seek victories that don’t excessively annoy their counterparts. In other words, “win/no-lose” is a more accurate description.

Why Some Platforms Are Better Than Others

Executives often look at the network effects of digital platforms as a key source of competitive advantage — without understanding that platforms need to also leverage other factors at play in the local markets and among preferred customers. Network effects can help, but on their own, they offer very limited competitive value.

For a Return on Platform Investment, Focus on New Capabilities

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 5 min 

Business success today requires taking part in open platform ecosystems. But too many world-class product and services companies find their platformization quests narrowly defined, and end up with constricted or conflicted implementations. The ability of information systems and devices to exchange data isn’t enough in and of itself. Instead, developing new capabilities is the key to platform innovation that will add value to an organization.

All Platforms Are Not Equal

  • Frontiers

  • Research Highlight
  • Read Time: 12 min 

The emergence of a handful of high-profile virtual monopolies built on digital platforms has directed a huge amount of attention to the network effects such platforms fuel. But not all platforms are equally powerful. There is a reason why Airbnb is a better business than Uber.

The Power of Product Recommendation Networks

Much as relationships in social networks have been analyzed to understand and influence how ideas flow among people, researchers wondered whether it might be possible to use the structure of product recommendation networks online to understand or influence how demand flows among products. The short answer is yes, and the implications for marketers are important.

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Leading to Become Obsolete

Zhang Ruimin, the CEO and chairman of the Qingdao, China, white goods giant Haier Group Corp., has done what most chief executives dare not even dream about. He blew up nearly the entire administrative structure of a global manufacturing enterprise, eliminating the 10,000 management jobs that once held it together, and reshaped the organization into a network of entrepreneurial ventures run by employees.

Beyond Viral: Generating Sustainable Value From Social Media

Social media provides the fuel for unpredictable, temporary mobilization, rather than steady, sustainable change. To reverse this trend and reap more enduring benefits from social media requires a fundamental change in focus. Research shows that incentive networks are an important middle layer between ideologies and activity in online digital platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. So, too, is a focus on establishing loyalty and stickiness rather than just “likes” and retweets.

Using Artificial Intelligence to Set Information Free

Artificial Intelligence is about to transform management from an art into a combination of art and science. Not because we’ll be taking commands from science fiction’s robot overlords, but because specialized AI will allow us to apply data science to our human interactions at work in a way that earlier theorists like Peter Drucker could only imagine.

Showing 1-20 of 39