"Connection changes the nature of an object," said Joshua Cooper Ramo, Co-CEO of Kissinger and Associates, during his hour-long address to the LCLD 8th Annual Meeting in Washington.
Ramo was explaining the importance of having a "seventh sense," which he defines as the ability to detect connectedness in the modern world. We're living in the age of interconnected networks, he went on. The seventh sense is a way of both understanding the historical moment we're living through—and positioning ourselves to succeed in an increasingly connected future.
"Whether it's a car or a computer, the nature of an object is changed when it's connected," Ramo explained. "You and I might look at a car and see a car. The people at Uber looked at a car and saw a network, which fundamentally altered its nature. The guys at Airbnb looked at a spare bedroom and understood that it was changed by connection. Something that's connected is different from something that's not."
In an age when small disruptions can have massive, disproportional impact, and institutions are increasingly seen as illegitimate, networks are also important sources of power and influence.
The power of LCLD derives from its connectedness, Ramo suggested, addressing the theme of the Annual Meeting. LCLD is a "network with vast potential" that has grown beyond a collection of individual general counsel and managing partners to become a driver of change. According to Ramo, an organization like LCLD—a diverse network of powerful, well-connected individuals—is well-positioned to take advantage of this moment, provided that individuals and organizations work together and find practical ways to mobilize the network in service of a common goal.
Members were further reminded of the LCLD Network when several hundred 2017 Fellows (above), meeting in another D.C. hotel, experienced the keynote via livestream and interacted with Ramo and LCLD Members during the question-and-answer period.
Members in attendance received Ramo's best-selling book (right), a limited supply of which are also available for 2017 Fellows who attended the simulcast. If you're interested, contact Caitlin Puffenberger.