During the recent break I took, an idea that sprang to my mind is an unconventional method that may be used to promote and make serendipitous networking happen within the organization. I’ve built on the idea a bit and proposed it to the concerned people. As I wait eagerly to find out whether the idea will be considered worthy of implementation and whether it will then see the light of the day, there is this article on social networking that I just came across. It talks about networking initiatives in general and their benefits. Life is full of coincidences. If you’re active on the blogosphere and exploratory on the World Wide Web, you must already be aware of the article. I am referring to “The Craft of Connection”. It has been authored by two people one of which is Rob Cross, the author of the book - The Hidden Power of Social Networks. It is a good article if you’re looking to know more about the applications of SNA. Very useful if you’re a beginner in SNA and want to know how your company could benefit from it.
Here is the extract of the case from the article. It left me smiling. And I personally think the idea is a breeze.
Recently, a large consumer products company held a global meeting of its researcher community. Each participant’s name badge contained a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip, coded with data about that person and his or her work: some personal background, some areas of expertise, and current research interests. As the attendees mingled during the cocktail hour, their name tags glowed whenever two people with common or complementary interests passed. As people responded to the lights and made introductions, a computer tracked the connections and continuously updated a sociogram of the participants on a large projection screen. Although a natural extrovert may find such a technique gimmicky, it resonated well with the generally introverted and technology-enamored scientists and researchers. By the end of the evening, a poorly connected network had evolved into a richly linked community of practice.
Necessity is the mother of invention. Indeed. Being an introvert, this idea appeals to me as it would make networking so much easier. The glow of the RFID tag, to me, would seem like a smile. It would give me (and the other person) an obvious reason to connect without either of us having to wonder what to start with or start an ambiguous conversation.
Meanwhile, I believe in learning from totally unrelated fields (this case only talks about connecting similar or complementary areas of expertise) as well. In fact, radical innovations spring from many of such conversations if only we let our imagination go wild. But that is a different kind of networking and ought to be a different post altogether. :-)