Networks and Learning

April 10, 2009
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A local colleague and Boston KM Forum friend, Maya Townsend, has just published a terrific article in Chief Learning Officer magazine: Leveraging Human Networks to Accelerate Learning. Maya interviewed me for the article, and I’m pleased to be quoted along side of Karen Stephenson, one of the pioneers of organizational network analysis.

I am particularly happy to see how Maya positioned the need for learning officers to leverage networks. And the best way to leverage networks is to understand their structures and the people who play key roles in them. Dr. Stephenson identifies three types of key people: “Hubs,” “Gatekeepers,” and “Pulsetakers.” Knowing who these people are in any given network offers the opportunity of moving knowledge more efficiently through the organization.

Here are Maya’s four steps for CLOs to get started on their net work:

  1. Understand what your organization gains from a network. Great diffusion of information? Access to the influential people? Help people across the organization connect?
  2. Identify the set of venues — networking space, blogs, communities — that are currently in use or that can be used strategically to nurture networks
  3. Use the key people you’ve id


A local colleague and Boston KM Forum friend, Maya Townsend, has just published a terrific article in Chief Learning Officer magazine: Leveraging Human Networks to Accelerate Learning. Maya interviewed me for the article, and I’m pleased to be quoted along side of Karen Stephenson, one of the pioneers of organizational network analysis.

I am particularly happy to see how Maya positioned the need for learning officers to leverage networks. And the best way to leverage networks is to understand their structures and the people who play key roles in them. Dr. Stephenson identifies three types of key people: “Hubs,” “Gatekeepers,” and “Pulsetakers.” Knowing who these people are in any given network offers the opportunity of moving knowledge more efficiently through the organization.

Here are Maya’s four steps for CLOs to get started on their net work:

  1. Understand what your organization gains from a network. Great diffusion of information? Access to the influential people? Help people across the organization connect?
  2. Identify the set of venues — networking space, blogs, communities — that are currently in use or that can be used strategically to nurture networks
  3. Use the key people you’ve identified to help seed the network
  4. Stand back and let the network do its work

Nice job, Maya, of getting the word out to another vital senior audience.