Curtis Ogden at The Interaction Institute provides a very good summary of the differences between network-centric and hierarchy-centric thinking, called Network Thinking:
- Adaptability instead of control
- Emergence instead of predictability
- Resilience and redundancy instead of rock stardom
- Contributions before credentials
- Diversity and divergence
One major challenge in helping organizations improve collaboration and knowledge-sharing are getting people to see themselves as nodes in various networks, with different types of relationships between them. Network thinking can fundamentally change our view of hierarchical relationships. For example, using value network analysis, I helped a steering group see their community of practice in a new light, mapped as a network. They immediately realized that they were pushing solutions to their community, instead of listening to what was happening. Thinking in terms of networks, networks lets us see with new eyes.