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Cosy networks stifle innovation

More is not always better, especially with a network. Densely connected networks actually serve to stifle innovation. Granovetter recognized (.pdf) that network formations influence information flow. Beinhocker explored the implications of highly vs. sparsely connected networks. A recent article in New Scientist states that “the over-abundance of connections through which information travels reduces diversity and keeps radical ideas from taking hold”.
The problem? We are inclined to surround ourselves or engage in conversations with people who share our views and beliefs. Our desire for community of peers is somewhat self-defeating in relation to the impact of densely connected networks.

One Comment

  1. Jon K. wrote:

    Interesting ideas – although whenever I get into this silo’d approach the devil’s advocate in me starts to ask questions… searching out different opinions. I’ve seen this occur in other groups as well. Steven would probably say that the test case is not a network, but a group. Perhaps the similarity of nodes makes it so?

    Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink