Designing the Networked Organization

Designing the Networked Organization, the new book from Australian entrepreneur Ken Everett, is a gem. The leader of TOYFNET (Think on Your Feet® Network), an affiliation of about 300 training providers in thirty countries, came to understand and appreciate the important strategic edge that networked organizations enjoy over their more traditional counterparts. While developing TOYFNET, Ken discovered that networked organizations are inherently resilient–his business was severely impacted by the SARS crisis of 2003, yet survived and thrived. They are also innovative; thanks to rich trust relationships that drive collaboration. Finally, networked organizations are brimming with natural leadership, contra models that regard leadership as a scarce resource possessed by a chosen few.

For Ken, organizational design means crafting a community–the antithesis of a mechanistic, hierarchical process. His approach to being a network node connector is to be thoughtful and intentional. Tipping the traditional hierarchy on its side, he identifies a network’s hub as a key to resourcing and connecting affiliates. His ultimate network design is connecting networks to other networks, a concept he calls N2N.

This is an informative read, leavened by warm and relevant personal stories. It is a timely contribution to the new wave of organizational writing.

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