I attended a Nesta event on Monday, Collaborate to Innovate. Ronald Burt of the Chicago Graduate School of Business spoke about some of his research regarding social networks. Ronald has conducted extensive research on interaction between social clusters. The key conclusion is that value resides in the white spaces. Brokers, social flies, serial networkers, etc are most likely to benefit from cross-pollination between different social (or work) groups/communities.
The second topic for the evening was the rise of online social networks. For most anyone reading this, you’re well versed in social networks. The important point made is that there are really two key types of social networks- those focused on the person, such as LinkedIn, and those focused on people’s attributes, like musical taste, such as Lastfm, where the actual individual takes a back seat.
Thinking about where the white spaces are around my social networks, it makes sense to think about your (or my) attributes: American, VC, Chemist, Blogger, Guitarist, Mac Zelot, etc…any of those place me within potentially new "social networks".
Where would you look for disruptive, insightful, new social interaction?