Cisco, Biotech Clusters & Client Service: Check Your Connections
July 31 2010
I participated in a 2-day client symposium this week for law firm CMOs and Managing partners. A highly interactive and engaged group of professionals all focusing on what's game-changing in client service.
In my role as President of 85 Broads, I was asked to speak on networks. I think about networking all the time as well as membership engagement, interaction and communications, however, it was good to spend a couple of weeks reflecting on the question: What's game-changing now about professional networks?
My Answer: Connecting.
Connecting people in a professional network, connecting information and ideas and passing those connections along, and strengthening your network through easy connectivity.
Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter - these social networks help find and build “connections” of friends, professional contacts and followers. But being online, electronically accessible, with lots of friends, followers and connections is not necessarily "game changing".
The human connections are what count.
“Bridging the gap” in creating connections between the people, information and ideas in your network, tapping into and activating your network - so that it is more than a number count of friends, contacts and followers - that is game changing.
A study by Professor Steven Casper at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) on the failure of LA to develop a biotech cluster illustrates the importance of connections. Casper concluded after an 18-month study that what's missing in LA is "a rich social network connecting scientists, entrepreneurs, managers and venture capitalists who are in the business of starting companies". All pieces are in place but without the connections....no marketplace for ideas, no interactions, no industry growth.
Cisco's approach to developing global leaders focuses on those who can make connections across the corporation which do not rely on hierarchy. Cisco is "tapping innovative collaboration tools and social networks to speed up productivity and decision-making". Individuals who can activate and tap into information networks, who focus on collaboration and teamwork are the future leaders.
So what's game changing? Not simply having a network, but being someone who connects their network.
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