Last week's Masters of Networks conference in Venice, which I blogged about earlier this month, brought network science down to earth and policy making into the 21st century. Now that I've offended both groups, let me explain.
News flash: typically policy makers meet with policy makers and network scientists meet with their own kind. "Masters of Networks" brought them together with the intent of using network science to tackle the application of policy to real-world problems.
Millie Begovic's post today describes her presentation, including how social media and techniques familiar to developers -- rapid prototyping, continuous engagement, and "weak ties" among networks, which I touch on in this post (and is similar to what Millie is calling "loose networks" here (correct me if I'm wrong, Millie!) -- can be used to deal with the kinds of problems policy makers sometimes find intractable. Stitch some network theory together with au courant policy approaches and we can look forward to some very creative breakthroughs.
This convening in Venice is a great step forward as everyone struggles to turn the pretty pictures of networks -- the complex strands that comprise network maps -- into images with meaning that offer practical suggestions.