Creating Value Through Networks

How can we create more value for each other and do it together?

An obvious answer would be – through collaboration. But collaboration is hard to do, it’s a complex and dynamic effort which involves building trust, communication and diversity.

Recently, Esko Kilpi wrote an inspiring blog about our communication and responsiveness to others on social networks and how it needs to be better understood so that we can create a more democratic conversation based on the value that our networks create. He says that: “Networks create the experience of acting into the unknown, creating the future together, improvising together in the responsive interplay of different participants with different views.

I wish to look more into this idea of creating the future together. What does it means to be part of today’s connected world of networks, platforms and ecosystems? How can we best create a valuable future together? Very much like Kilpi above, I believe this has to do with understanding our changed reality as networked agents.

I wrote here about how disruptive innovation is best seen as a transformation of ourselves as users and this transformation is best done through our connecting networks, or as they are often called today – platforms or ecosystems. Let’s take for example the case of Google’s search engine and how the way it connects us as users creates new things for us.

The Google search algorithm is one of the best examples of the way we all share our skills and experiences with each other in order to increase the value of our searches. Through collaborating in Google’s platform we input into Google’s capacity to increase searches speed and even to present us with possibilities for new searches based on all of our’s most popular searches –

google search
What Google suggests me to think about

Mind you, how the Google’s algorithm (informed by our common intelligence) directed me from thinking philosophically to think about my emotions (love) and to suggested action I might want to think about (marriage). Marriage is actually a wonderful example of creating future value, isn’t it? Thanks Google! I actually wrote before about how love is a great example for feedback.

In his great post, Louis D. Lo Praeste discuss how values and value are related. Pointing to the fact that today “relationships and intimacy, rich, rewarding love, and the pursuit of economic wealth seem ultimately incompatible.“. He goes on to stress how real value is connected through networks, suggesting that “true wealth, true richness in life—material or otherwise—is born of integrity, meaning, and relationship.”


“We only know we have lived because we have dared to love and made meaning with one another.”.  Leo Tolstoy

So, by being networked via all kinds of platforms we create future value, innovate, communicate and respond. Often, we don’t even realize that we are connected by the platform we use, which also makes these networks vulnerable. Changes that take place in various parts of the network might impact us even if we have no direct connection to them or have any clue that these changes are even happening. This attribute of the network can cause unexpected surprises.

In a recent research, published in Nature magazine and introduced in the nice clip below,  scientists had made progress in predicting the point of collapse and decay of networks, which can greatly help us foresee the points where they will change their stable state and transform into a different state.

This is not the only progress science is making which involves networks and building on the value creation they allow. IBM has made great progress in creating a computer chip that is copying the network dynamics of the brain. A key stage in the development of this ‘neuromorphic chip’ was the mapping of the networked structure of a macaque monkey brain –


A network diagram of the macaque brain, which IBM’s engineer Dharmendra Modha used to design his neuromorphic chip 








Soon, when these chips will become commonplace within our computers, Google’s suggested searches would gain a totally new depth. On top of being based on common users’ experience they would be embedded in a brain like thinking process. We are approaching a time when network intelligence and artificial intelligence will converge.

While Artificial Intelligence is often understood as a threat to our humanity or to our economy and the future of our working environment. In this nice piece about the new economy connecting us to each other, David Nordfors takes another approach to AI. He thinks that “The real heart of the new economy will be about helping people need each other more.“. This beautifully frames the idea of making value together! He goes on to stress how “A society happens when a cluster of people are bound by a network of personal commitments” and that we all should become both workers and consumers as so to keep this community growing together.

Going back to the question we’ve tarted with – how can we create value and design the future together, we’ve shown some good examples of how this is based on understanding our own networks and how we are already embedded in them, if we like it or notice it or not.

Let’s do the best to use these networks, platforms and ecosystems to make the best future we can.

If you enjoyed this post, do comment and share it to your network. Thanks!

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