The Expanding Network Universe

Almost every great entrepreneur is a great networker with an ever expanding constellation of connections and sources of ideas and inspiration.

Network theorists claim that simply being in an open network instead of a closed one is one of the best predictors of career success. In addition, successful people understand and practice information rheology i.e., how to reduce the obstacles to the flow of information from disparate sources. British psychologist Liam Hudson described "convergent" thinking, in which the person is good at bringing material from a variety of sources to bear on a problem, in such a way as to produce the "correct" answer. This kind of thinking is particularly appropriate in medicine, science, math, and technology and is a characteristic of innovative thinkers.

But, how do you become part of an open network?

  1. Start one. The Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at http://www.sopenet.org was created as an open network from its inception with the underlying belief that what ails sick-care and biomedical and health innovation could not be fixed from inside.
  2. Create your own company, or work for an organization or university that is part of an open network (HINT: They are hard to find)
  3. Establish yourself as the connector, maven, opinion leader, or expert by producing value-added, relevant, and timely communications
  4. Pass if forward when asked
  5. Seek those you don't know
  6. Learn to network and learn its purpose: to help others solve their problem
  7. Focus on value, not vanity numbers
  8. Take care of your network
  9. Practice network rheology (see blog) by being a problem seeker not a problem solver.
  10. Add layers of networks and metanetworks, like the expanding universe.
  11. Listen
  12. Get out of your comfort zone

Almost every great entrepreneur is a great networker with an ever expanding constellation of connections and sources of ideas and inspiration. But, they use those networks to create patterns that others don't see. Like some enormous follow the dots book, you need to connect more than what's on the page in front of you. The layers and metalayers of potential connectedness is almost infinite, so you need to expand, but at the same time focus, on the source of information and inspiration that will motivate your creativity. Some in medical education are beginning to connect some dots and advocating for coherent education, linking medicine to science, technology, engineering, math, business, the humanities, and other domains as well.

You don't need miraculous powers or trick mirrors to see around the corners. You just need open networks.