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Disrupting Traditional Leadership: Flock Behavior in Communities


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Leaders lead and followers follow, right? Not always. Researchers into bird behavior have identified that a few well-placed, co-ordinated "followers" can shift the direction of a flock of hundreds. What are the implications of that for businesses and online communities undergoing change. Can the followers lead?

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Disrupting Traditional Leadership: Flock Behavior in Communities

  1. 1. Disrupting Traditional Leadership: Flock Behavior in Communities Maggie Fox, Social Media Group @maggiefox
  2. 2. How do birds do this?
  3. 3. <ul><li>They do it by staying in context. </li></ul><ul><li>By observing and maintaining a set distance from nearby flock members. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Much like aerial performance teams…
  5. 5. … and financial indicators. It’s all about where you are in relation to everyone else.
  6. 6. So? Generally, flocks follow leadership groups with the most members.
  7. 7. But new research and mathematical modeling by Hai-Tao Zhang, a physicist at the University of Cambridge, shows that a much smaller, more distributed group of birds can change the direction of an entire flock.
  8. 8. Separation: steer to avoid crowding local flockmates Alignment: steer towards the average heading of local flockmates Cohesion: steer to move toward the average position of local flockmates
  9. 12. Distribution.
  10. 13. Allegiance.
  11. 14. Communication .
  12. 15. Revolutions … Elections … Networked communities of all kinds...
  13. 17. Some stuff to think about…
  14. 18. What would the technology look like?
  15. 19. Could we have revolutions in surprising places?
  16. 20. Social business in action?
  17. 21. Thanks & Photo Credits <ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ kinkyink </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ odreiuqzid </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ martinlabare </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ abrahamiphotography </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/pg </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ mshades </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ mickeysacks </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/b0xman </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ ceasol </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ hamoid </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/lyng883 </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ respres </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ djbrady </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ pixelitofoto </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ tmartin </li></ul><ul><li>http://www. flickr .com/photos/ phae </li></ul><ul><li> myrmician </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> wheatfields </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> hinkelstone </li></ul><ul><li> edmittance </li></ul>