Diversity is essential to producing innovation. Diversity allows for an inflow of a more widespread information quantity, making the production of innovative ideas more likely to fit a market need. Unfortunately, creating diversity is resources intensive exercise.

One way to overcome the resource constraint while achieving diversity, and thereby access to knowledge, is through networking. Networking, in this context, is the creation of both formal and informal ties between people who share a similar meaning.

Walter Powell and Stine Grodal have studied networking within the field of innovation; in summary, there are four different types of networking:

Community

Members of these networks have similar interests, passions, values, and problems. These connections typically exist before the formulation of a specific innovation. Innovations emerge out of similar pain points or observed opportunities.

Invisible Collage

These are networks of loosely coupled participants, often ring-fenced together to create a particular innovation. Once the system has served its purpose or the change established, the network is typically disbanded.

Chains

Chains are unridged linked nodes often characterized by defined deliverable outcomes. Well defined overarching forces orchestrate each nodes involvement. Each node within the network has a specific purpose during the creation of an innovation.

Planned

The formulation of planned network happens with a specific intention and often found within legally contracted parameters. The members of the planned network are selected or recruited due to a particular strength or skill they would bring to the network. Relationships are intentionally forged to formulate an innovation.

The productive use of networking will produce an improvement in diversity. This diversity yields quicker access to knowledge, which, in turn, improves the probabilities creating innovation with an accurate market fit.


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