CCK08: Connectivism and the Challenge of Making Connections in Vast and Complex Networks

invitationWe’re now 2/3 the way through the 12-week MOOC (online course) on Connectivism and Connective Knowledge. Next week we get into the role of the teacher and the future of education in an online, connected world, and I’ll have a lot to say about that. But while there has been some discussion about complexity in this course, we have made little progress in dealing with the ultimate question that I think this course raises:

In a world with a billion people online, connected in multiple and unfathomably complex ways, how do you find, and then connect, with just the right people to do what you need to do?

Here’s a summary of some of the ideas I’ve written about on this blog about how to do this:

  1. Know yourself well, so you really know what you’re looking for in a partner (in enterprise, in community, or whatever). You can’t find the right people until you know what you’re looking for.
  2. Get attention by saying or doing something important or interesting. Articulate an unrecognized need or a creative idea or a provocative possibility or an intriguing offer. Do something bold and imaginative. Make something truly novel that the world needs (a prototype will do). This is not easy, but if you can get people’s attention, you are more likely to have the people you need to find, seek you out and connect with you.
  3. Craft an invitation. Write up something compelling and send it out to as many people as possible, asking them to forward it to others. The people who accept your invitation will be the right people.
  4. Get out there and have a lot of conversations and collaborations. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. So join groups that will expose you to people with common interests, and converse and work with their members. The more people you talk with, seriously, about things that matter to you, the more people you are likely to find who share your passions and your purpose — the people you are meant to make a life or a living with, or just work together with on an important project.
  5. Be loving and generous. Great collaborations and partnerships have great chemistry. Open yourself up to that chemistry, and let others know you are open to it. 
  6. Be attentive. The people who can make a difference in your life, on your project, and in the world are often not the people you would expect. Listen, watch, feel what’s being felt but not said, draw people out. 
  7. Seek diversity. The wisdom of crowds demands diverse perspectives, ideas, ways of thinking. Echo chambers are terrible places to generate new ideas and ways of thinking.
  8. Draw on the strength of weak links. The people you seek may well be two or three degrees of separation from the people in your immediate networks. Ask the people you know who they know that fit what you’re looking for.

This is a big list, but it’s an unsatisfying one. A lot of people are doing these things, yet finding people this way still seems very much a hit-and-missproposition.

What else do you know that works? How do you find the right people? Where do you look?

Category: Communication
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2 Responses to CCK08: Connectivism and the Challenge of Making Connections in Vast and Complex Networks

  1. Viv McWaters says:

    Serendipity and synchronisity work for me – and being attentive enough to notice when they happen. I think it IS hit and miss – just look at how many coincidences don’t happen. Everyone has an amazing story of unexpectedly bumping into a friend somewhere in the world, yet we have no idea how many near misses there are. I think that’s also true of finding people to collaborate with. Sometimes we get lucky, other times not – and I think paying attention to the items on your list raises the potential of striking it lucky.CheersViv

  2. Good post.Maybe I would have add “passion”:only do (write about) what you feel strongly: It is so easy now to talk about everything just to make noise!

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