The two extraordinary sides to social connection

As we all started to ‘social distance’ from one another, AKOU took a deep dive into the topic of connection. Here are some of our reflections on the sides of social connection we all need to explore further.

There is a power in our social relationships that is still yet to be fully realised. Our relationships form the story that truly matters. And this story needs to be told repeatedly. Not just because our relationships act as the glue that holds so much of our society together. But because relationships between individuals and service providers can create the maps that guide the way to enacting real change. 

We have spent a lot of time over the past five years geeking out about relationship and network building. Not networking as it is generally known, but the kind of networking that translates to building well-functioning ecosystems. At AKOU, when we talk about ecosystems we mean informal systems of connecting, collaborating and exchanging social value. 

Connection as an antidote

Some of the most prominent sub-topics in discussions about COVID-19 clearly link back to the topic of connection. We need to rethink connection and develop new approaches to enhance connectedness within society. These are antidotes that can holistically challenge some of the devastating economic effects that the current crisis has stirred up. And that so many of us will continue to be affected by through out next year.

We’re all aware that a good sense of connection with people can have the biggest impact on our lived experience. There is so much available research that proves that “loneliness is bad for your health. As bad as smoking or obesity. People who are lonely are at higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and dementia”1. But still, loneliness can be a very hard thing to discuss with others.

We can all feel disconnected at times. A result of feeling misunderstood, not properly seen or heard, or when we are dealing with certain life challenges that are hard to share. There are many ways that major and minor interactions at work, at home or in our communities can affect our sense of connection and belonging. Let alone when we are in the middle of a pandemic. 

Mapping connections means revealing trust and social value

At AKOU we map connections and collect unique data about real life local networks and the social value they create. When we do this we can transform everyone’s perspective on value, trust and support. By transforming this invisible value into visible insight we can enhance a shared sense of connection and belonging. This approach enables a community to trace and uncover critical disconnects between local resources, relationships and desired results for their own community’s development. 

Lockdown has definitely pushed us all to consider the nuances of connectivity in a little more detail. Despite the chaos and confusion COVID-19 has brought to our doorsteps, this crisis has also instigated a major rethinking process. Many of us have begun to look differently at our relationships and the value we exchange with each other.

The product that AKOU has been working for some time now will be officially launching in January 2021. With our platform you can tell your own story of how your work, your relationships and your network generates social value. Our research this past year has focused heavily on understanding how social value can help people to overcome economic limitations.

We have all experienced a shift this year. We have designed new products to help support this change of perspective. We feel that the next year will be challenging and vital that we maximise the social and economical benefits of true connectedness.

The story that truly matters

A light is shining faintly, somewhere in the distant end of the Covid tunnel. It is revealing a growing discussion about our value structures. It sparks the formation of a new value system. One that can really challenge the limitations of our outdated economic systems. One that considers health as the key contributor to our collective wealth. This life-changing and world-changing discussion is well overdue. It is particularly critical for parts of society that have high levels of social capital and informal exchanges of social value, but consistently face economic hardship. 

AKOU is excited to launch our new set of tools that can help us to come together more effectively and navigate our way out of this crisis. We must start to reimagine value and currency as something new, something that reflects social value just as much as economic value. There are two sides to every coin. Now is the time to acknowledge how these two sides can support each other.

1 For more information see: and