Escaping Network Gravity: Innovative Team Structures in Video Game Development and Recorded Jazz
The main mechanisms governing social tie formation and operation are at odds with recognizing new ideas. Homophily, closure, skewed degree distributions, and limited vision are four main forces of network gravity. This talk brings cases where these gravity forces were overcome by organizational design and emergent institutions. Using data on more than 100,000 video game developers from the 1980’s to the present, and 400,000 jazz musicians from 1890 to the present I show mechanisms of achieving generative tension, productive diversity, and sustained exploration. I will highlight the role of structural folds, and the significance of overlapping yet cognitively diverse communities.
About Balazs Vedres
Vedres’ research furthers the agenda of understanding historical dynamics in network systems, combining insights from network science, historical sociology, and studies of complex systems in physics and biology. His contribution is to combine historical sensitivities to patterns of processes in time with a network analytic sensitivity to patterns of connectedness cross-sectionally. A key element of this work was the adoption of optimal matching sequence analysis to historical network data. His research results were published in the top journals of sociology, with two recent articles in the American Journal of Sociology exploring the notion of structural folds: creative tensions in intersecting yet cognitively diverse cohesive communities. Vedres’ recent research follows video game developers and jazz musicians as they weave collaborative networks through their projects and recording sessions. Vedres is the recipient of several awards and prizes. He is the founder and director of the Center for Network Science at Central European University.