“Everything is connected” – A paradigm to live by

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Source: Tv Show “Touch” revolves around the idea that everything is connected.

While I was doing some  much needed winter cleaning of my laptop, I found the transcript of this talk I did two years ago (if memory serves) and it tackled how, in today’s interconnected world, It takes a network-paradigm to thrive. As it’s resolutions season, although I’m not a big fan of the whole ritual, I thought I’d share an excerpt to take into account while forming this year’s big plan. *Turning sleeves up* (And by the way, Have a blessed and productive 2014!)

“I’ve become convinced that how networks work has become an essential 21st Century literacy.” ~Harold Rheingold

In the Era of interconnectedness that we are witnessing today, we belong to many many networks And weaving various network is the key to thrive. That is why to my sense, brokers (people who tie together otherwise disconnected people and leverage what is called weak ties)  are actually what we can call great network players. And here is why.

Rene Fourtou once said that “Shock comes when different things meet. It’s the interface that is interesting”. We learn most from people who don’t resemble us. Great ideas come from cross-pollination, a combinatory process that remixes ideas from different backgrounds to give birth to novel ones. How much exposure you have to various ideas determines how creative you can be. So when brokers play the role of interfaces between groups they are actually getting exposure to different ideas, which causes a shock, and a shock causes a spark, and spark gives birth to disruptive ideas. Brokers are creative!

Brokers are Problem solvers. People connected across these groups, who cross those gaps, are more familiar with alternative ways of thinking and behaving. They can juggle and appreciate divergent outlooks and multiple realities. They know that answers don’t lie within. Hence, they are more prone to have a vision of options otherwise unseen.

Brokers are Change makers. A Network Weaver is someone who is aware of the networks around them and explicitly works to make them healthier (more inclusive, bridging divides). Network Weavers do this by connecting people strategically where there’s potential for mutual benefit, helping people identify their passions, and serving as a catalyst for self-organizing groups.

Creative, innovative, problem solver, change maker. Who wouldn’t want to be all this. But how Do we get to that? How do we become network weavers? It really start by having a network mindset. The “me” attitude should be replaced with a “we” attitude which fits in the networked ecosystem we live in today.

Reaching out of your bubble: Going to event outside your normal sphere can enhance your exposure to new ideas. If you are a techy, try going to modern art expositions, literature events etc. Mingle with people with social science, philosophy, quantum mechanics backgrounds. The furthest you go outside that filter bubbleyou unconsciously locked yourself into, the better chances you have to come out with unique ideas. 

Always look for fresh blood: we are people of habit, we seek the comfort of familiar faces, of people who share our world view. There is nothing wrong with that. Greatest opportunities of growth though come from reaching out and connecting with those whose views are very different than ours. Intellectual diversity is a great creativity catalyst. Let’s then make it a point not to shun away from those who challenge us intellectually. 

Never miss a chance for a new experience: Spend your money wisely. Material things have a short life span, experiences on the other hand are life-long companions. Make it a point to try a new experience whenever the chance presents itself. An Arabic class? A travel to a multicultural destination? Anything that widens your range of interests is welcome.

Leverage the power of the web: In the words of Tapscott “The web, -indeed the world- is your stage, so get ready to deliver your star performance”.  Go out there and shine!

Each network you reach out to gives you access to a whole new reality you may have been oblivious to. The more exposure you get, the more your mind expands and the more creative you can be.

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