Tim Harrap columnistHow does information and ideas travel between people in business and wider society? Two Canadians provided me with some useful information for this.

Harold Jarche encourages “working out loud” to make the connections within your work place on projects, a wider industry network and beyond.  Within the business we have goals and strong social ties to achieve our aims.

However, these are set in the context of our industry environment in what can be called a “community of practice”.

A Community of Practice is exampled by those networks we have with similar business as our own – competitors possibly –  we have similar tools and standards to work by. A good example being industry conferences for exchange of ideas.

Out beyond the business and the community of practice of course there are wider social networks that we all plug into – family, friends, social networks etc.

At this level seeds are sown that feedback through in to our work spheres.  It is only through my own wider social network that I have another community of practice on a global scale to exchange ideas and information – Harold is a key part of that network.

His fellow Canadian, Jon Husband coined the expression “Wirearchy” and used this explanation – ‘about the power and effectiveness of people working together through connection and collaboration … taking responsibility individually and collectively rather than relying on traditional hierarchical status.’

Husband is always keen to point out this does not mean the end of hierarchy – far from it – but that we should clearly observe the value and reality of the connections made across socially constructed boundaries.  Far from being a threat these linkages should be put in context and lauded as of benefit to both the individual and the business.

The difficulty remains to strike a balance between the strictures of risk aversion mindsets where the rigours of policy processes stymie the human element.  The goal is to be conscious of these dynamics for ourselves, our colleagues and the world we live in.

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