Monday, October 3, 2016

The Tipping Point and Connectors - A different look at matching

Last week we talked about matching markets and discussed the Medical Intern Matching Program. This is one way to consider matching.  Here is a quite different way, one that gives a role to management as an honest broker.

In 2000, a very popular book came out called The Tipping Point, which was about how innovations spread through society.  (The more formal word that describes this spreading is called diffusion.)  People who embrace the innovation at first are called innovators. (That's not very surprising, is it?)  After that comes early adopters.  Both of these types enjoy experimentation and trying out new things, a reward in itself.  After that comes the majority.  (And sometimes they don't come.  Diffusion stalls and the idea fades away.)  There are key people who are instrumental in getting the majority to adopt the innovation.  One of those is called a connector.  The connector matches the innovation with people the connector believes will benefit from adoption.  Majority types then adopt as much because they trust what the connector says as because of the innovation itself.

However, not all such connections involve a general idea that diffuses.  My experience is that quite often a specific and more idiosyncratic need emerges.  The person with the need doesn't know how to address it.  That person goes to the connector to see if the connector knows who might be able to help address the need.  Often the answer to that is yes, because the connector is quite plugged into the people network, so if there is a solution the connector will find it.

Below is a link to a piece about characteristics of connectors that you might enjoy.  I agree with most of these (though not #6).

1 comment:

  1. I actually really enjoyed this post thank you Professor Arvin for sharing this article. It gave me a different perspective on how to approach each and everyday. Why do you necessarily not agree with #6? Is it due to the meeting part or returning phone calls/emails? I do think some meetings can be unnecessary, however, I do believe you can learn something from each one. Perhaps even something you were not expecting to take away from it.

    I really liked #9 and the quote that came with it, "courtesy and respect might not be [memorable], but they're rare enough that they might make someone think "I really enjoyed meeting that person". I think that is awesome, but sad at the same time. The fact that courtesy and respect are rare among society, or so it seems, is disheartening, but true. Awesome article, going to bookmark this for future use.