A lot of inspiration is taken from Quincy Jones, who said, “I’m in the Music Business and the Business of Music.”
We are in the Networking/Connection Business, and the Business the Networking/Connection. And it is NOT a straight line!
A lot of inspiration is also taken from the principle of personalisation and mutual multiple way exchanges.
Consider what each party bringing to and benefiting from in the network, the connections and interactions.
How do we fund, fuel, exchange, value and exchange our value?
The thought has always been what’s a model that we can create, what can we utilise which is dynamic like the network, is future looking, but also makes sense.
The connections are not just “oh you should meet such and such”, they are discerning connections, orchestrated and choreographed and well thought out. In order to activate these, we need a different model of exchange. It needs a new way of thinking both financially and contractually. There is nothing out there currently.
We asked people how they would fund, fuel such a network, and got a variety of answers…..
- The hardest thing about creating such a network of connections is a value structure that works alongside the magic.
- There have been many iterations, questions and explorations of how this might work.
- A model that is totally free for its users is not sustainable for the one who provides the service!
This page is about where we are at so far. Our mechanism is layered, there is no one size fits all, but we aim for a culture of mutuality and collaboration.
Ask what your contribution to the network will be. What will be the network’s contribution to you.
What are we? What are we not?
It might surprise people to realise that while the concept is successful, the financial side has not yet found it’s sweet spot. It’s very easy to do a lot of great work, and not receive enough of an exchange for that. However going forward creating an economy for doing amazing things in the world, it will require a different balancing of the books and then the discrepancy should be less, i.e. free entry to a conference in exchange for working at it, or an introduction that changes the network dynamics.
We also asked ourselves: Are We?: A business? A creative organisation? An enterprise/impact? A not for profit?
- Yes, A business endeavour. To do this full time, we have to find a way to fund/fuel ourselves. Otherwise it’s just a successful hobby and we don’t make the impact possible or needed.
- Yes, It’s creative, because we think like co-creators, collectively, how can we make something great together. We are pretty sure we have to fund it along arts/festival lines. Like an artist would fund themselves. Loving this: Amanda Palmer – artist (and yes will add value her way). Sponsorship, tickets, passes, royalties, commission….. rewards, recognition and it does work in reverse too.
- Yes, it’s enterprise, because we’re trying to be something, create something.
- But no, not the last one. We’re not a not for profit. This isn’t for free, though some of the exchanges might have no $$ change hands.
Contribution Levels: Again there are levels: These relate back to the levels of the network.
- Co-creators. All in, mutual exchange, ‘pay’ to be always in some way connected.
- One off contributors. Pay/contribute as you go.
- Marketplace/Service. You would like the network to provide you a service, or vice versa. Quoted and charged.
An important point is recognise all the parties in the equation. For example a number of the following have multiple players, stakeholders, participants, protagonists, it’s a multi value equation going on:
Imagine the following
- A contact from Linked In, comes to a new country, is met, engaged with, is connected with an organisation looking to fill a role and is successful. Who would you charge, how?
- Connecting blood services between UK and Australia on a zoom call. People who wouldn’t have met otherwise? How do you fuel this?
- A network contact asking for a referral for a lean coach, specific industry type and size.
- Someone wanting advice to find a lean six sigma mentor.
- A regional business organisation wanting to help and inspire local companies looking for a consultant referral.
- A CI practitioner developing software wanting access to the network to test, trial and ask people what they think.
- Finding and meeting individuals that you know would benefit hugely from knowing each other. Connections bringing them together.
People do this as humans, it’s part of humanity. The question though is how do we go faster, deeper,
The Network works very quickly because of the trust and relationships engendered by the central catalyst. Not as the ‘manager’, but the catalyst/spark for everyone’s brilliance.
This what we are trying to codify.
- Exchange | Agreement to share skills, expertise, resources and capacity without regular financial transactions, though this could be incorporated later, gift, koha (donation)
- Connection fees | One off invoices for networking events, and groups. Membership. Service fees.
- Traditional, resource charges| Fees, salary, wages.
The exchange between participants is often mutual, and zero $$.
It’s the fuelling, funding, nourishing and sustaining network central that is key.
- Try Booking
- Bank Account
- 1. Relational Economy | Agreements of in kind, service, gift economy, koha (donation), sharing our mutual value, sometimes in a straight line, sometimes now.
- 2. Creative Economy | Modelled on the arts: Tickets, Subscriptions (NZ yearly currently $450 +gst NZD), Sponsorship, Promotion, Retainer, Royalties.
- 3. Transactional Economy | Traditional, salary, wage, income, invoicing.
So as you engage think about what you would like, what you’re coming to the network for, how you’d like to participate, what part you will play, what you would like to receive and let’s get started! All correspondence and input is welcome to co-create something, just as we do with the network itself!
We also discovered this thinking which we found inspirational: link.springer.com/Exchange Networks and are working along these lines with the network combinations we create.
This will also require a new contractual mindset and paradigm, which we are already working with various people and teams on.
THE AGREEMENT: ‘Contract’ to be created for all engagements.
One last thing is that it is becoming more and more obvious, through covid, and in general that there is such an expanse of talent and skill in the people of the world. We need a much more advanced and intelligent way of putting together those that have and those that need. The covid period showed just how much people benefited from the magic of others. People sharing ‘their thing’ with others who need it. So we consider that as we work on this problem that hopefully we will be inspirational for the wider world Relational Economy.
In reality – it’s the stories that ‘sell’ the network and it’s impact!
Everyone has a story, and the authentic hearing and combing of those stories that is where the magic is.
© Trish Wilson All Rights Reserved. 2023.