Monday, September 17, 2007

When the vanguard becomes the frontline (the network comes with them)

There were some brilliant minds in London and all at the same time last week.

Ajit Jaoker organised a dinner for ForumOxford members to hook up with Howard Rheingold.
Stowe Boyd, JP Rangaswami, Euan Semple and Doc Searls all got together in various combinations.

If you don't know who these people are - or about their work - it's time you got yourself up to speed. Really. Not next week. Today.

I'm not listing all this for the sake of name-dropping.

The point is these people have been at the vanguard of thought about the seismic changes we are all undergoing - in social, economic, political and business fields.

They have represented the bleeding edge. And as Alan Moore likes to warn, people with a message from the future don't often get a warm welcome from the status quo. "Pioneers often get shot," as he puts it.

But I get the feeling the bleeding edge, the pioneers, are increasingly becoming the frontline.
They aren't out on their own anymore. The status quo is finally learning to embrace them and what they represent.

These guys all do work with bluechip companies. The bluechips aren't shooting them any more.

And if your organisation still thinks their thinking is all a bit "out there", it's time for a serious reappraisal of what you consider the norms.

I met Stowe a fortnight back. I met Euan last week. I hope I'll catch up with the others in person soon. I'm aiming to introduce Alan to Euan very soon. The connections have all come through blogging first. We are an example of a self-forming community of interest in action.

This community understands the power of the network. It lives by it.

I'm reading Systems Thinking (Creative Holism for Managers) by Michael C Jackson at the moment. It's a hard slog. But here's a gem that's kept me going:

  • "Everyone can talk to everyone and should"
  • "Everyone is responsible"
  • "Network extensively"
I'll just corrupt that last one, if I may (sprinkle in a bit of co-creation...)
  • Network extensively - with purpose

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?