Skip to main content

Thursday, Nov 20, 7:30pm: The Goldilocks Zone of Network Embeddedness

Dialogue Leader: Dave Biesinger

Many of history’s greatest innovations are the product of collaboration. It is no surprise, then, that the rise of internet connected technologies coincides with an unprecedented rate of innovation. People are sharing ideas more freely than ever before. Organic communities of thought and practice spring up daily. This very website and the community it supports is a perfect example of how network technologies are fostering human connection.

And these connections can be powerful. From forging novel industries, to the popularization of forgotten philosophies; information flows through our connected cultures like a river. Ideas from diverse spheres of influence ripple through the world largely uninhibited, and sometimes come crashing together to form poetic synthesis.

This month, we’ll take a look at network embeddedness, or the degree to which we are enmeshed in social circles. Embedded networks play a critical role in determining the ideas, opportunities, and social connections we have access to. Being connected and “present in the moment” is the first step in deliberately shaping our network connections. A deeper understanding of betweenness centrality, intellectual (or technological) distance, and homophily will help us find the “goldilocks” zone of network embeddedness.

A Snack:Joi Ito TED Talk: Want to innovate? Become a “nowist”

A Three Course Meal:
The Strength of Weak Ties
Granovetter, M. S. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American journal of sociology, 1360-1380.
Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies - Technological distance, betweenness centrality and density
Gilsing, V., Nooteboom, B., Vanhaverbeke, W., Duysters, G., & van den Oord, A.(2008). Network embeddedness and the exploration of novel technologies: Technological distance, betweenness centrality and density. Research Policy, 37(10), 1717-1731.
(Need access to the JSTOR for this one, can read the abstract otherwise)
Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation
Cohen, W., and Levinthal, D. (1990). Absorptive capacity: A new perspective on learning and innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1, Special Issue: Technology, Organizations, and Innovation), 128-152.

About Dave Biesinger:
Dave is a manager of community relations for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where he researches, develops, and implements relationship building approaches for key community audiences. He is also a former partner and Executive Producer of DNA Films, an advertising and communications firm that designed and produced campaigns for clients like Walmart and Alaskan Airlines. Dave is currently a graduate student in USC Annenberg’s Master of Communication Management program.