If you are a lover of classical music, imagine listening to a sonata from Beethoven. After the music has been introduced in the exposition, it will undergo a modulation and will arrive at the end of the exposition in a different key. As the melody further develops, you will be more and more able to unravel the tune and to analyze and understand the underlying patterns of the melody. The longer you listen to the tune, the better you will know what to expect next.
In our project we are aiming to do the same for the evolution of communication patterns in social networks. Our goal is to come up with a framework of temporal communication patterns typical of different types of collaborative knowledge networks such as innovation networks, learning networks, and interest networks.
The CKN project is working towards answering five core questions:
- How do CKN lead to greater innovation and better learning organizations?
- What are the crucial roles in CKN?
- How do I find the hidden CKN in my organization?
- How can I become a valuable CKN member?
- How can my organization profit from CKN?
The following screen shots and flash movies illustrate our approach:
Screen shot of a typical communication pattern of a Collaborative Innovation Network (CIN): People are represented as dots, relationships between people as links. The community develops around a small core group of people over time. In the center of the graph, there is the core team of finally 9 people, exhibiting a dense communication network while innovating together. Around the core team, there are people linked to only one or two of the core team members. The Flash movie shows how the communication network builds up over time, starting with a dialogue between 1 person in the center, talking to 3 others. The team then grows into the full team of 9 people. After an inactivity period (set to 20 days in this example), relationships calm down and decay until there is only the initial network.
Click here to download a flash movie of the innovation network (723 KB)
Screen shot of a typical communication pattern of a Collaborative Learning Network (CLN): The communication activities are arranged around the learning network coordinator in the center of the graph, communicating with a large group of other community members, who are not communicating among themselves. A small group of subject matter experts talking among themselves is developing around the coordinator in the center.
Click here to download a flash movie of the learning network (728 KB)/p class="style1">
Screen shot of a typical communication pattern of a Collaborative Interest Network: Initially there are different small teams, operating as isolated islands. Over time, the structural holes are filling up, until the network is almost fully connected. There is no clear center in this graph, different people are acting as local hubs, forming a "small world" "scale free" network.
Click here to download a flash movie of the interest network (411 KB)