As discussed in Albert-L szl ³ Barab si's book Linked: The New Science of Networks (2002) , networks increase the degrees of freedom in a society or organization by increasing the possible number of paths that people can follow and explore. Even more so than hierarchies, networks are resilient. Unlike hierarchies, networks are also creative. These two traits, resiliency and creativity, make the network the most robust structure imaginable. A network is composed of content, nodes, and connections. The nodes and connections carry the content. Increasing the degrees of freedom increases the number of nodes, or centers of decision making, in a society or in an organization. This, in turn , leads to an increase in freedom. In organizational terms, then, you create information-rich networks by increasing the number of centers of decision making and connections in an organization. This will allow the organization to capture and leverage the robustness of networks.
How do you create these robust networks? As mentioned earlier, you do not want to make radical changes in structure too soon that will damage the informal alliances and networks that you will need to use later. The key to expanding networks is to set up cross-functional connections between an expanded number of nodes (decision-making centers) through the peer council system. As the number of networks in society increases ” educating us all about the workings and benefits of interconnected nodes ”the companies that can mirror networks in their own organization will become wildly successful. Peer councils increase the number and quality of centers of decision making through councils and so capture the resiliency and creativity of networks. Let's take a closer look at both forms of peer-based organizations, knowing that much of what we say is of necessity hypothetical.