(photo: Shop window at Bookazine, Hong Kong. Peter B Williams)
Networking comes in two flavours:
1/ Networking for Resources
2/ Networking for Ideas.
We all know the the first type, which usually revolves around uncomfortable small talk at a conference break or so-called networking function. Business cards are bandied about like confetti, and everyone's on the make: Can I find a new employer here? Can I source a new recruit here? Can I promote my company's services to a prospective client here?
But it's the second type which is of much more interest to us here, because it is one of the five core innovation discovery behaviours ...
Networking for Ideas is about deliberately mixing with people outside of your domain, finding out what's new and exciting in their industries, sound-checking your ideas with other innovative types, and basically finding out who's doing the cutting-edge stuff that might ignite your current project or future possibilities.
But it's much more than that.
Peter B Williams has written a book called Productive Accidents on why networking is so important if we want to lead complete lives, personally and professionally, and find greater engagement in all aspects of our lives.
A few surprising facts about Peter: For a start he's an introvert with a day job as a Director of Treasury at Citibank in Hong Kong. So not your average outside-the-lines author.
What does he know and what can he teach us about networking then?
For 10 years he's lived his life "in beta mode" as a series of experiments in networking after being inspired by his professor at Chicago Booth, Ron Burt.
This has created "a portfolio of possibility, things that energize me," says the senior banker who skateboards to work.
This book contains the code, the how-to frameworks and examples of where casual little serendipitous chats have led to major life events for he and his family.
And here's a starting list of networking platforms that he participates in and recommends:
Peter joined me on the Maverick Manifesto podcast to discuss his book and how networking helps him live a life less ordinary. You can listen to his fascinating findings here.