Network Economy is a big word with plenty of academic reading around the topic. However, I've come across little real-world insights and first-hand tips.
Having built Superson as a pure play network economy organisation servicing a large number of blue chip companies, I thought it might be fun to share some learnings from the journey as it's been a pretty exciting ride so far – it's my year 5 now already.
Having built Superson's business on the notion of the network economy, we’ve learned a fair bit about the practicalities of this mindset shift.
To give context, Superson builds teams of independent specialists around our clients’ marketing communication needs and lead & deliver those projects working together with top independent experts in their respective fields. Hence we call ourselves ‘the agency built around you’.
So yeah, we are pretty much a school book example of the network economy.
As Wikipedia puts it, “The network economy is the emerging economic order within the information society. The name stems from a key attribute - products and services are created and value is added through social networks operating on large or global scales.”
Ok so let’s start with a few stats.
- According to an ADP study, one in six workers in organizations are gig workers. In about 40% of companies, one in four workers is a gig worker.
- Upwork claims that 59 million Americans performed freelance work in the past 12 months, representing 36%—or more than one-third—of the entire U.S. workforce. Cited in Forbes.
Market Splash shares some interesting stats as well:
- 67% of freelancers became independent within the last three years.
- Over 60% of freelancers began freelancing by choice.
- 33% of freelancers work within a creative field
Some of those stats need be taken with a pinch of salt, but the point is that self-employment has been on the rise and is here to stay; more and more people engage with organisations and projects as individual experts working as a team towards a bigger goal.
Not so surprisingly, this trend is tied to the shift in how different generations see work.
All this has a significant impact in the way how organisations – or in this case, networks, are led. And these learnings in running a network organisation is what I’ll be sharing moving forward.
To keep things bite sized, I’ll continue with more specific and practical insights in other posts. Let me know (here!) if there’s anything you’d like to ask? I try to answer if I have any first-hand experiences as we go!