Laurie Lock Lee is one of the top practitioners globally in network thinking. I first came across his work in the mid-1990s, when he was one of the first people in world applying social network analysis approaches to organizations, for his then-employer BHP. He moved to CSC with the acquisition of BHP’s technology group, and last year set up his own firm Optimice with Cai Kjaer. I have featured some of Laurie’s work in the last two Future of Media Reports, including a high-level view of media industry networks, and a detailed analysis of the impact of a large acquisition on the Australian media industry landscape. Many other great reports and industry network maps are available from the Optimice website.
Laurie has just launched a new blog on Governance in a Networked World. He notes that it’s important to find the right scope and topic for a blog, and I think this is a fantastic one. As I wrote in releasing Chapter 3 of Living Networks, governance is perhaps the most important perspective on how organizations need to deal with a networked world. There are certainly risks to be understood and dealt with, but there are also opportunities that must be recognized and addressed. Business and government leaders are abrogating their responsibilities if they do not engage with the issues raised by our hyperconnected, networked world. Laurie says on his inaugural post:
Now to the governance bit. The old conglomerates grew up in an era when hierarchical control was the order of the day. Decision making necessarily travelled up and down the chain of command. Governance was all “top down”. Today many of the conglomerates have largely disappeared. Organisational structures have been flattened to facilitate agility and faster decision making. And governance systems have done what? Have they changed substantially at all? The focus is still top down control. The expectation is that senior management can “control” everything. In my view the networked business environment has worked against senior management’s ability to “control” the business. I believe the paradigm has shifted from one of “control” to one of “influence”. Until governance mechanisms are adapted to this change I believe they will continue to add cost and reduce value to the very organisations that they are trying to help.
I look forward to Laurie’s insights on his blog.