Networks are the underlying structure for knowledge, learning, and society. We live in networks. We experience them daily. This familiarity results, at times, in overlooking the significant value that connections provide in understanding the world. When a company has a failed product launch, networks and connections can explain why. When a company, such as Microsoft or Blackberry, fails to capitalize on an emerging market, networks can describe what happened. When a political party fails at the polls, networks can provide insight into lack of resonance with voters. Knowledge can be defined through a network lens. As can learning.
In spite of the descriptive, predictive, and informative value of connections and networks, most institutions fail to utilize them well. Higher education is in a broad swing from hierarchical systems of organizations to network structures. The talk below is one that I delivered to the Desire2Learn conference in Melbourne yesterday on the role of networks in knowledge creation, learning, innovation: