How concepts unfold

How concepts unfold


The ?Theory of Weak Ties? may be a theory concerning however concepts area unit transmitted from one person to a different and from one cluster to a different in social networks. This theory will facilitate United States of America to know higher however we have a tendency to come back up with novel concepts and approaches as people. It conjointly helps United States of America to implement some easy however extremely effective approaches to create organisations a lot of innovative.

In 1974 Mark Granovetter (a sociologist) wrote a paper on social network theory called:

?The strength of weak ties?.

[American Journal of social science, Vol 78, (May 1973), 1360-1380]

This has been followed up by several articles including:

[Sociological Theory, Volume one (1983), 201-233.]

To scan a lot of on Mark Granovetter have a glance at his entry in Wikipedia:

I have solely come upon these articles terribly recently and on reading them found that they raised variety of queries and thoughts on behalf of me.

This article may be a terribly transient outline of the 2 articles higher than and my thoughts on a number of the potential applications to plan generation and innovation.

summary of the articles

People have 2 forms of ?ties? to different individuals:

Strong ties: between an individual and their friends, relations. shut work colleagues etc. robust ties area unit helpful as a result of they supply the individual with support and a sympathetic cluster of individuals for sharing their concepts with. On the opposite hand they limit unfold of concepts and our robust ties might not be sympathetic to concepts that area unit radically completely different to their own.

Weak ties: between an individual and folks United Nations agency they need met or apprehend during a peripheral method. These area unit helpful for spreading concepts a lot of wide. Since they're by definition ties to people that we have a tendency to don't apprehend {very we have a tendency toll|alright|all right|fine|o.k.|okay} we might not approach them with our concepts.

The stronger the tie connecting 2 individuals the a lot of similar they're going to tend to be. this can be smart for support however thus smart for individual openness.

The network that a personal depends on can tend to encompass robust ties.

Groups of individuals having robust ties with one another can tend to cluster. concepts won't move from one cluster to a different through the robust ties as a result of people among this cluster can solely tend to possess robust ties with others among constant cluster. thus a bunch with robust ties is incredibly smart at maintaining existing concepts however not smart at developing or adopting new concepts.

Individuals during a cluster consisting solely of robust ties can tend to become a lot of almost like one another. completely different concepts in several teams of this sort can ne'er unfold between teams. robust ties area unit smart for maintaining the established order.

Ideas will be unfold through robust ties or weak ties however due to the robust ties among teams weak ties area unit necessary to unfold concepts between teams. Such weak ties will be thought of as ?bridging? ties.

Bridging ties area unit required for concepts to achieve an outsized range of individuals and to unfold a lot of wide between social teams.

One little bit of Granovetter's analysis was on however individuals got employment if they'd used their contacts to urge this job. The analysis created the subsequent percentages:

16.7% saw their contact usually (at least double a week)

55.6% saw their contact often (less than double every week however over double a year)

27.8% saw their contact seldom (once a year or less)

The stunning issue here is that the effectiveness of the weak ties is significantly bigger than the robust ties i.e. nearly double as effective.

First adopters of concepts area unit the people that 1st hatch or adopt a brand new plan. they have a tendency to be marginalised in our society and organisations as a result of their concepts area unit completely different. thus they're going to tend not have several robust ties. 1st adopters that have several weak ties are going to be a lot of successful  at obtaining their concepts adopted than 1st adopters with few weak ties. thus we want to produce an area for 1st adopters in our society or organisation otherwise new concepts won't be created or promoted.

An early adoptive parent is somebody United Nations agency includes a range of robust ties however conjointly has exposure to the primary adopters. they'll develop the thought from the primary adopters and unfold the thought through their robust ties.

This is solely a really transient outline of Granovetter's work on weak ties. the subsequent MEasure} some concepts that reading these articles angry in me. They represent 3 categories:

some thoughts on innovation in organisations

some thoughts on plan generation

some thoughts for you in person

some thoughts on innovation in organisations

group suppose

I see ?group think? as being terribly dangerous to our society typically and to innovation among organisations specifically.

Most organisations pay tons of your time, effort and cash developing robust teams. i believe this can be typically a really smart issue however if the cluster becomes to a fault cohesive then there's a danger of ?group think? developing. The cluster can become unwilling to adopt new concepts from among their organisation or from their shoppers. The cluster also will develop a ?restricted? language for communication with one another due to their common thought processes. this permits extremely economical communication among the cluster however makes it exhausting for the cluster to speak to different elements of the organisation or perceive what different elements of the organisation area unit speech.

So for organisations to pioneer effectively they have to create certain that cluster suppose doesn't develop. If they'll insure that every cluster among the organisation has a minimum of one ?early adopter? this is able to actually facilitate. it might conjointly facilitate if teams may well be created alert to their ?restricted? code and inspired to speak with different elements of the organisation employing a a lot of ?elaborated? code.

first and early adopters

Where do the primary and early adopters live among your organisation?

First adopters ought to exist somewhere among your organisation to get new concepts and import concepts from completely different environments. If the organisation has become terribly cohesive or structured over time then 1st adopters are going to be pushed out of the organisation fully. have you ever known your 1st adopters? does one ought to get a lot of into your organisation? does one give an area wherever they'll exist and prosper? does one give ways in which to encourage them to create ample weak ties among and out of doors your organisation? (This last purpose conjointly applies to all or any your workers, not simply the primary adopters).

What concerning the primary adopters United Nations agency area unit required for propagating the new ideas? have you ever known the first adopters in every group? have you ever created mechanisms for them to prosper?

implementing innovation

When making {an attempt|attempting} to create an organisation a lot of innovative usually structured mechanisms area unit relied upon. i'm not speech that these area unit essentially unhealthy things however they have to confirm that weak ties area unit preserved. usually structured approaches can use the organisation's data structure (strong ties) to diffuse AN innovation culture. This must be complemented with as less formal mechanism which inspires innovation via weak ties. These is also ?innovation clubs?, cross cluster operating, rotation of teams to call a couple of.

networking teams and business teams

A lot of stress in networking is focussed on ?similar interests?. AN engineering company is also a member of their national engineering association and send individuals frequently to conferences and conferences. they'll do constant with teams of their customers. These area unit approaches that facilitate to develop robust ties. i believe that this can be a decent issue to try and do however that it ought to be increased by a technique to develop weak ties. If you're AN engineering company then why not be a part of AN association for one thing that's whole unrelated. initially sight this might sound troublesome to justify however the proof from Granovetter's analysis and from others United Nations agency have designed on his work would suggests this might be a a lot of profitable route (because of the creation of tons of weak ties).
some thoughts on plan generation

In the toolkit section on my web site there area unit several techniques for generating concepts on demand. while reading Granovetter's articles it occurred to Pine Tree State that ?weak ties? may also be operational in our thought processes which this is able to additional make a case for why a number of these techniques work thus well.

If thoughts cluster in our minds connected by robust ties then one thought would sometimes solely result in another thought among constant cluster. to leap between clusters we might ought to have weak ties between the clusters. If we have a tendency to failed to have any weak ties between clusters we might be for good stuck in one cluster or another. thus maybe these techniques facilitate to make new weak ties and activate existing ones.

random inputs

This technique may well be explained by weak ties as a result of any word can tend to possess several associations in your mind. as an example the word ?coffee? has associations in your mind with ?brown?, ?coffee smell?, ?hot? etc. thus once you area unit stuck in your thinking (in a cluster of robust ties thoughts) then maybe the random word activates a full bunch of weak ties that create it easier for you to leap between clusters.


This technique may work as a result of if forces your thinking out of a cluster of robust ties thoughts by forcing your thinking into AN opposite which needs you to maneuver out of the cluster.


This technique helps your thinking develop AN analogy for the case you're wondering. This moves you from the cluster of robust ties concepts that you just area unit engrossment on to the analogy. The analogy are going to be abundant ?richer? in your mind and then have more weak ties. The chances are that one or a lot of of those weak ties will act as a bridging tie.

some thoughts for you in person

developing your weak ties

On a private perspective it's going to be terribly helpful for you to develop your own weak ties, either by making new ones or by reactivating recent ones. however concerning beginning a straightforward action decide to establish or activate one weak tie per day?

this article

If you have got scan this so much you want to have found one thing during this article that was either helpful or thought agitative. If you recognize some people that you suppose are going to be interested why not send it on to them (these area unit robust ties as a result of you recognize them tolerably to think they could be interested).

Why not conjointly send it to a number of your weak ties? That method you may activate some weak ties and conjointly unfold this text additional abroad.


If you have got any comments on this text please email them to Pine Tree State.

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