We continue our review of “The Innovator’s DNA” by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, Clayton M. Christensen with a focus on networking, which the author’s define as seeking serious conversation with individuals from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and expertise. Here is a quote by Ronald Burt on creativity from idea brokerage (condensed from page 117):
“People connected to groups beyond their own have early access to diverse, often contradictory information and interpretations, which gives them competitive advantage in seeing and developing good ideas. This is creativity as an import-export business. A idea mundane in one group can be a valuable insight in another.”
What: Book Club for Business Impact covers Innovator’s DNA Skill #4 Networking
When : Wednesday May 16 Noon to 1pm PST / 3-4PM EST / 8PM London / 9PM Paris & Berlin / May 17 7AM Sydney
Where : on-line https://vimeo.com/42297558
Cost: No charge for live event
Tristan Kromer, Steve Hogan and I will be discussing the book and specifically Chapter 5 on networking. This is intended to be a roundtable conversation and we will take questions and comments from the audience via the chat interface throughout the event. You can use the GotoMeeting client or dial in from the US, Europe, or Australia.
Tristan (@TriKro) brings unique background and set of experiences to the panel. He has lived in 12 cities spread across five countries, he worked or ten years in the music industry, five years in IT security, and has becoming actively involved advising a number of startups as well as launching of his own. He blogs at grasshopperherder.com.
The word networking can conjure up a number of obnoxious business practices. For the purposes of the discussion there are a couple of situations that we will take as points of departure:
- You may very well be looking for new information that’s outside your box, it’s likely inside of someones else’s. Many successful innovative products rely less on the discovery of genuinely new information and more on the combination of knowledge from seemingly unrelated fields or industries.
- There is a category of information that’s not written down (yet, and perhaps never). You place your startup at a tremendous disadvantage if you focus on learning solely from reading or what you can directly observe. Someone else’s experiences and expertise can often supply missing pieces of the product market fit puzzle.
- Networking in a mature firm tends to be ends focused: you have a specific destination in mind and are looking for insights and resources to accomplish a pre-existing goal. This leads to interpersonal networking strategies that are more transactional. Networking in a startup is often driven by a search for means and building blocks, it’s as much about gaining multiple perspective on your current situation and weaving a network that you can continue to collaborate with as it is a single transaction.
- One of the largest barriers to effective networking is your own experience; like a fish in water it can be hard to understand how to build a common context for a conversation.