09 April 2014

The power of a complex international network

Many of you know I have been evolving and presenting a talk on using the game of Go to introduce Complexity Theory and the Cynefin framework to business-people for the last ten years or so.

What you may not know is my search for a 1940's era article talking about how Japanese military strategies in WWII closely resembled Go strategy.  It included the picture of South East Asia with a Go Board overlaid on it that you see on your right.  I have been looking for this article for over 5 years now to use in my presentation with no success, so how did I finally get hold of it?  I had tried using my own Twitter and Facebook networks, although there aren't many Go players in those networks so no success.

For several years I have been subscribed to the American Go Associations excellent Newsletter.

Recently they have run a quiz, asking their readers what are the most recognised popular references to Go in the Western world.  One example is the movie "A Beautiful Mind" where Russell Crow plays a game against his friend in the university quadrangle shown below.

I thought one of their readers might have heard of or seen the Japanese WWII article so I emailed the editors and asked the question.

Just two days later, and three of their readers had responded with links to the article which actually occurred in LIFE magazine in 1942.
The link to the full article is here and it shows as much insight in to the American culture at the time as it does on the Japanese soldiers and generals trained in the game, but the lesson for me is clear:

Find the image by myself with the awesome power of Google and the internet?
 - 5 years, no result
Find the article via a network of interested experts?
 - Just 2 days with a link to the full article.