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 MPIfG Podcasts



Balazs Vedres
Escaping Network Gravity: Relational Structures for Generating Novelty


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While there is a long tradition in social networks research about the spread and adoption of innovation, we know much less about the network antecedents of the generation of novel ideas. In his lecture, Vedres argues that 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 mechanisms that are conservatizing – the four main forces of network gravity. In his lecture Vedres will highlight cases where some of these gravity forces were overcome by organizational design and emergent institutions. Drawing on qualitative and quantitative sources on startup company formation, video game projects, jazz sessions, and business groups, he will focus especially on the role of structural folds and the significance of generative tension in innovation.
Balazs Vedres is director of the Center for Network Science at Central European University. His work focuses on the historical dynamics of social, business, and political networks. His current research focuses on the early formation of technology startup teams, the dynamics of collaborative networks in jazz, and the parallels of online and offline interactions in corporations.
Selected publications
  • Game Changer: The Topology of Creativity (with Mathijs DeVaan and David Stark). In: American Journal of Sociology 120, 2, 2014.
  • Networks in Social Policy Problems (edited with Marco Scotti). Cambridge University Press, 2012.
  • Structural Folds: Generative Disruption in Overlapping Groups (with David Stark). In: American Journal of Sociology 115, 4, 1150-1190 (2010).

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