How can associations position themselves to create more value for
Historically, associations were established as a nucleus around
which markets could develop. This hub and spoke model, with
associations at the epicentre made them indispensable.
But the old hub and spoke model has been replaced by a new,
decentralised network economy. Like the internet itself, it has no
centre. It is no longer reliant on any one organisation. It is an
interconnected jumble of associations, nonprofits and
businesses all competing to deliver value.
This makes any single organisation dispensable. The most at
risk are the associations that still think they are the invincible
epicentre of old markets.
Imagine the most powerful association in Australia. What would
happen if it disappeared? Its void would be filled by any number
of competitors. What would happen if your association
disappeared? Your members would carry on, only they would
look to get their needs met by other providers. This is not doom
and gloom. It is reality. And it is an opportunity.
The association mindset that accepts vulnerability is a catalyst for
The awareness that relevance is under threat can force an
association to innovate and deliver the future value that
members demand – and enable them to compete effectively in
the network economy.