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Collaboration and Networks

I value Nancy’s measured approach by taking time to define context of appropriate use for teams, communities, and collaboration in her post Collaboration and Networks…too often, we try and obliterate the old to make room for the new. I’m inclined, however to call networks the meta-component…with other elements comprising a part. For example – a hierarchy is a type of network. So is a community. The key distinction rests in what type of network it is – for example, an effective network is one that allows maximum autonomy of individual nodes and greatest capacity for knowledge flow. Hierarchies and communities permit a certain type of knowledge flow…but with restrictions due to the nature of each network. For example, a community serves a particular need, and the individual network nodes may be silenced (intentionally or otherwise) as the community moves toward its intended target.
Networks (as Nancy alludes) need to occur within something – namely an ecology or space that fosters and enables the greatest capacity for network formation. Networks and ecologies, considered together (and in light of a systems approach) provide provide the basis for our learning needs today.