Million Puppet March and the Opening of Networks, Washington, DC USA

Yesterday, Regina Holliday (@ReginaHolliday) invited me to check out the Million Puppet March (@MillionPuppets).  We needed to practice our TEDx talk, and if I can walk to it, I’ll do it, so I did it.

There weren’t a million puppets there, and while there was a portion of the event that involved people taking sides (including, most notably, the media, if you read Regina’s blog post, as well as many people who weren’t there, if you read this blog post.), this is not what I experienced. Instead, I saw a celebration of life and art and communication, that’s so different than what I’m used to. She was right about it being a photographic paradise as well.

I happen to be taking a course in social network analysis and in it, I’m learning that simulated networks that are “totally connected” arrive at solutions faster, but are lower performing in the long run, compared to networks that are not connected and have gaps in them.

I’ve never been a puppeteer or communicated using puppets. Fred Holliday was a willing and enthusiastic one, as Regina showed me her muppet labs originals (I learn something new about her every day…). To foreshadow our TEDx talk, what we’re supposed to learn is that bouncing a ball alone in a closed network is not a pathway to winning in the long run. Thanks, DC, and Regina, for the opportunity to break things in the right places.

My photo set from the day is here.


 Could you say more about the differences between open and closed networks? Or refer me to some reading from your course if it’s too complicated for a blog comment? Did you have the sense that this particular group, loosely joined I assume, was one that could have long-term impact?
Thanks, as always for the insight and beautiful photos!

chukwumaonyeije SusannahFox 
Dear Susannah and Chukwuma,
I wanted to wait until I finished this week’s homework assignment, with the simulations, to make sure I understood it :).
This is the article from the reading :
When it comes to innovation (different from complex contagion), imagine that I am a health care professional, in a tightly connected and beautiful lattice of my intelligent colleagues. 
If I live there, a better solution to my condition will be close by and I’ll copy it. I’ll imitate and not innovate. 
Enter Regina, who is not in the tightly connected beautiful lattice – she is not as likely to copy the answer I’m being exposed to, and she is not as likely to have an off-the-shelf better solution to my condition. I’m then more likely to innovate rather than imitate.
And by the way, it was diagnostic for me that I was in this tight, beautiful health care lattice by the number of people within it who have said to me over the years, “How do you know this Regina person again?”
Christine Kraft calls it living outside our hashtag, Regina calls it not bouncing a ball alone., I call it a great opportunity for health care to fail together with the people we serve, instead of succeeding by ourselves with the results we’re seeing today (more foreshadowing for #TEDxAlvaPark ….)
Let me know what you think and feel free to check my work (of course),

I would appreciate the same info that Susannah requested. The difference between open and closed networks makes intuitive sense to me. The question I would ask is whether there are ways to proactively create networks to target a particular (long term or short term) goal.

Thanks for sharing. I wonder what new habits we need to adopt in order to create serendipity and loose networks?

chw7985 Claudia,
Thanks for taking a look and for asking this question, I think it’s the best one.
I reflect on something  a patient told me a loooong time ago when I asked her about her work. She said, “Where I work, we don’t tolerate diversity. We LIVE diversity.”
I think the new habit is to LIVE in the diversity around us. We are so lucky to be in a place where it is all around, whether it’s a heels race, a tweed ride, or a puppet march, all we have to do is walk outside, or really just walk.
And I have to say, of all of the people I know, you are among the best at role modeling this; the fact that you’re asking the question shows that you think about it. 
Happy Monday,

Ted Eytan, MD