Some interesting thoughts on networks by Deborah Mills-Scofield:
For me, the network is literal survival. My family, throughout history, escaped to places where we had family or friends who would support, hide, and in the case of America letting my mom and grandparents enter, sponsor us. No sponsor, no entry; no entry, Auschwitz. Without the network, the odds of survival were slim to none. Fortunately, for most of us this is not the case. But don’t let that negate the importance of the network for your survival.
Without the network, you don’t get new ideas into your organization, you don’t see trends and issues that affect you and your customers, you don’t grow and develop your people with new challenges and opportunities, you aren’t attractive for young talent, you don’t learn about new technologies or business models, you don’t create new markets and you risk deluding yourself with your own ideas. You don’t increase your own value and advance your own career. Without the network you stagnate, you become stale. With the network you grow, provide meaningful and valuable solutions to your customers and not just survive, but thrive.
Much of this rings true for our learning networks as well, assuming, of course, we’ve done good job of including a diverse set of voices in the mix.