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Get Support by Reaching Out to Others Through Social Networks

Get Support by Reaching Out to Others Through Social Networks

With today’s economic challenges, it’s easy to feel like you’re living in the middle of a storm. With the evening news blasting out the latest bank collapse or political turmoil, the world can feel noisy, unbalanced, and chaotic. The world can feel dangerous and dark and the problems never seem to end.

For the average person, the most disruptive events are most often experienced in private, away from the din of the front page news. We shoulder the burdens of life’s challenges every day, sometimes without anyone to help us to sort out our feelings. The changes we see around us come fast and hard and our discouragement can overwhelm us.

Although change can be frustrating, it’s essential. Even the worst disasters often lead to a stronger sense of self and can actually help build our character. Looking for the silver lining of every black cloud is one way to move from discouragement to hope. By keeping a positive outlook, you can see a light at the end of the tunnel and find alternatives to help.

Fortunately, you do not have to keep quiet and tough it out on your own. Social communities can provide you a much needed lifeline.

Social networking and social communities can offer many opportunities to build you up. You can gain educational support, inspirational insights, and can develop friendships. It’s one great way you can lift yourself out of your depression, gain some perspective, and get yourself moving back in the flow of life.

Available in both online and offline versions, a social community functions like an extended family. Most social networks offer casual relationships between like-minded others around a general theme or idea. Sometimes they’re business focused, other times maybe hobby or even geographically focused. The variety is endless and thousands of people are in social communities for friendships and support

By taking full advantage of social communities that provide support, resources, and a group of like-minded individuals to share with, you can reframe your situation in a way that allows you to heal and grow. When the storms of life beat on your door, it’s nice to have friends.

Otcots stands for “One Third Charity, One Third Self.” At Otcots, we believe that our community can transform the world when we come together to share our knowledge, wisdom, achievements, encouragement, and money. Otcots is a community of dreamers, people who believe in positive and progressive change. We appreciate diversity, respect humanity, protect our planet, help others, and try to be the best we can each and every day.

Can Social Networks Support Innovation?

Can Social Networks Support Innovation?
David Friedman is a friend who likes to talk about how social networks and social interactions can support innovation. The challenges are dual. One, how do we get the right talent together? Two, how do we get these talented individuals interact in the right ways?

Crowd-sourcing lets individuals generate ideas, but better innovation can come from the interaction of people with a diverse set of skills and interests. How can such a group of strangers, be assembled, and how can it function well together and be productive in a minimal amount of time?

The quality of results in collaboration problem-solving is a function of two variables: the diversity of input and the quality of the interactions among the people. Suppose we could bring together many diverse people and use outstanding group problem-solving methods. Presumably, they would get better results than a relatively small group that works well together — such as a good team — or a diverse set of individuals who do not work together.

Here are some examples of collaborations that bring together larger groups than teams and also use methods that allow individuals to work together

(1) Innocentive. This well-known platform for solving problems works when individuals who think they have the answer to a problem can submit and be paid if their answer is selected. Most of these problems are solved by an individual who sees fairly quickly that he or she has some knowledge that can be applied to the problem. Not much teamwork is at work.

A friend of mine, David Friedman, talks about Innocentive Chinese style, which is a reference to groups of participants in China collaborating to decide upon which problems to attack. The variety of problems they attack comes from the stream of Innocentive problems.

In Good to Great, Collins and Porras write about getting the right people on the bus and then determining the appropriate strategy. By taking advantage of the stream of Innocentive problems, the Chinese groups have gathered the right talent and can also look for the problems that this particular assemblage is best positioned to solve. The laws of probability suggest that his method will yield greater fruits than what individual Innocentive participants can do.

The popular Netflix Prize challenge produced ever larger groups of collaborators as it neared its end. As the teams grew, they were able to use traditional, novel, and collaborative problem-solving techniques from larger groups that in some ways were unique to the problem. They mathematically combined algorithms (their solutions to the problem) to get better results.

Open Space methods bring people with a stake in the problem together and then let them work together on what they believe are the important elements. They yield results that cannot be easily predicted but are very powerful.

Polymath was a high-level mathematical collaboration that yielded outstanding results through open collaboration of many individuals. Conducted on a blog and guided by a set of rules that encouraged participants to share ideas that were not complete but upon which others could build (or refute), Polymath promised to yield optimal ways to structure their interactions.

Leslie Pratch, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist from the Northwestern University with an M.B.A. in Strategy and Finance from Chicago Booth and a B.A. in Religion from Williams College. She works with boards of directors of public companies as well as private equity investors to assess and develop executives. She can be reached at (312) 464-7919 or leslie@pratchco.com or www.pratchco.com.

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