Propinquity – part two

Propinquity can be more than just physical distance. Residents of an apartment building living near a stairway, for example, tend to have more friends from other floors than those living further from the stairway.

Following on from yesterday’s post about enhancing propinquity between your product and project teams, the second part of the story is about leveraging this stairway effect of propinquity.

The stairway effect is another example of the theory of “Sociograms and structural holes.” As it indicates, “[Ron] Burt proposes that gaps in a social network, structural holes, create brokerage opportunities. A structural hole indicates that the people on either side of the hole circulate in different flows of information and advantages accrue to those individuals whose relationships span the structural hole.”

The question for everyone within OSS is, how to foster “connectors” who are able to provide you with this strategic advantage through information arbitrage? Chances are that your connectors are also your valuable tripods and will be in high demand across your organisation because they’re the ones that pull all of the disparate pieces of your OSS together.

If it’s not viable to spawn these connectors to meet short term objectives, perhaps your friendly neighbourhood OSS consultant can help you to connect dots that you never knew existed?

Footnote: If you’re interested in diving into the algorithms of propinquity dynamics, have a look at this paper.

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