notes: Arne Krokan on “The network is the Organisation”
[Post in progress] Title of the talk is a quote from Castells. Will talk about some of the mechanisms in networks, looking at relationships between organisations rather than between individual people.
German sociologist has listed twenty-six distinct definitions of “information”, and Arne suspects that “network” might be a similar kind of concept, the sort of concept you should just forget about trying to find a single defintion of.
Although network theory has been very efficient, there are problems with it too. We haven’t been able to use networks as organisational toolf/methods.
Advantages of network organisation: Scalable, interactive, flexible, tailored, branded, global, alliances, increased specialisation.
Communication used to be expensive. Coordination used be done through meetings, telephone, paper. We’re very strongly marked by these methods and have trouble not using them. Traditional kinds of coordination favourise organisations with few connections, few ties. Also there’s goign to be information filtering because it’s expensive to give out information, and that also means lots of people are kept out of the loop, not given information.
With the internet: communication is cheap. But how should we use it? New technologies tend to emulate old, expensive technologies, like IP-phones. Castells: “The network is the message.” 75% of productivity gains in the next five years will come through improved collaboration, better connections. Right now Microsoft Office doesn’t do collaboration well at all, but they’re working on it and it will become essential.
Economy is the understanding of scarce resources in a society.
Digital services: “products” become services when they’re online. E.g. a book is tax-free if printed on paper (in Norway) but if you put it online it’s a service and so if you sell it you have to add tax.
Increasing returns – it’s trivial to make more copies so you make mroe and more money the more you sell.
Diminishing returns – you actually lose money if you sell more than so and so many of a product. It costs as much to make another box as I earn more.
E.g. I sell you a phone. I make a cut.
THEN I add you to my network. That costs me nothing.
The more people in my network, the more you’ll ring. So I make more and more money.
(though I dunno, surely more and more customers also requires more questions to be answered, more servers and so on, but I suppose this is simplified)
The net can reduce some of the standard transaction costs – like searching for a product, negotiating, deciding etc.
Commodification: more and more products becoming standardised. E.g. content management systems. Digital services globalised.
[bit I was too tired to follow, sorry :/]
Anecdot about his kids who never plan ahead, they’re used to instant coordination with their friends. How would we plan an organisation that supports this? Today’s organisation either assume we can’t do this or they pretty much stop us from using these abilities and require slow planning.