“This new mode of organization—a “network of teams” with a high degree of empowerment, strong communication, and rapid information flow—is now sweeping businesses and governments around the world.” – Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Ret.)

Innovation Networks are no longer optional for large companies. Today’s VUCA world (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) requires that companies form robust knowledge networks. This is the only real hope of delivering the innovations, especially transformational ones, that are needed for the growth they aspire to, or to prevent disruption from new entrants.

The concept of company networks is not new and, for years, companies have created internal networks that have taken on many different forms and go by many different names – Knowledge Networks, Communities of Practice (CoP), Councils, etc… No matter what the name, the intent is the same – connect people in ways that break the barriers imposed by formal organizational structures so they can discover, aggregate, synthesize and codify new knowledge useful to the firm. The result is an enhanced form of a company network that works to:

  • Accelerate information and knowledge flow throughout the company
  • Collect, synthesize and make sense of vast amounts of constantly emerging information
  • Create insights and catalyze actions that have real implications for the company
  • Help expand the breadth and depth of the company’s competency landscape

An internal innovation network today can be the T-shaped entity of an organization that can effectively bring new knowledge into the company – both know-what and know-how. New technologies, tools and systems make innovation networks more possible and more influential than ever. It’s time for a new look at your company’s networks to supercharge them for this accelerating VUCA world.

Selected Readings

The 5 Requirements of a Truly Innovative Company

A relatively anodyne but somewhat useful list from Gary Hamel a founder of Strategos and Nancy Tennant, ex. head of Whilrpool’s innovation efforts.

Original article | Read our short take

What made Xerox PARC special? Who else today is like them?

An interesting take on what made PARC special in the early ‘70s by Alan Kay, a key employee during that time and a pioneer of object-oriented programming.

Original article | Read our short take

This is the Jeff Bezos playbook for preventing Amazon’s demise

Words of wisdom from one of the most influential business leaders today. Does your company act like this?

Original article | Read our short take