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A functioning network is like a sensible marriage: it survives storms and disputes, as those involved benefit more from cooperation than they would by operating alone. Networking to win BY OLLI MANNINEN ILLUSTRATIONS BY PAULIINA MÄKELÄ/NAPA ILLUSTRATIONS S uddenly, everyone seems to be networking. For the world village's network spinners, the internet has made connecting much faster and more efficient. Experts find one another through LinkedIn, while old friends reunite via Facebook. Consumers share their experiences through online communities, launching boycotts or mass adulation respectively for brands that they despise or admire. School kids are learning how to network early through sites such Finland's IRC-galleria and virtual worlds such as Habbo. Business networks have also proliferated in recent years, as the pressure of international competition has forced firms to adopt more efficient and profitable business models. In the 1990s, waves of outsourcing swept over one sector after another. For agile firms with specialised know-how, this represented new opportunities to make money, as big corporations began to redefine their core businesses and outsource the rest to other companies. OCTOBER 2008 BLUE WINGS 59

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