Structural Holes and Sociograms

The best ideas lose their owners and take on lives of their own.”
N. Bushnell

In yesterday’s blog, we discussed a new product to infuse innovation more deeply within a CSP via its OSS, partly based on the concept of EMC|ONE.

On the back of EMC’s work, they propose “Ron Burt’s theory of structural holes has proven to be influential in explaining how innovation transpires. 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 following diagram helps demonstrate this concept.

This image resonates strongly, implying to me that CSPs are also likely to have structural holes in their resolver networks that might hinder solutions to cross-domain problems. If you map a single problem across the resolver entities and find that there is no spanning relationships, then it is likely that there is also no collaboration between different OSS/BSS groups and other business units. More importantly, the research identifies strategic intervention, via intentional introduction of key spanner-resolvers to bridge the structural holes.

Another use for this model is discussed tomorrow.

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