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This is a concept, a work in progress…
Velocity is classically defined as the rate of distance traveled over time. In the context of innovation, ideas move over time. And to be most useful, ideas require interactions with people in order to morph into innovations with business value
In a closed organization, an idea is likely to move as far as the idea holder’s personal network will take it. And the same idea will travel at a pace proportional to the idea holder’s communication plan. In other words, only so many people are able to interact with the idea, it’s fixed by the number of contacts in the idea holder’s network (n). Email to 20 contacts, you get 20 possible interactions as fast as they can read and respond.
In open or collaborative organizations, n is much larger. In networked or connected organizations, n is exponentially larger. Chances are the idea will be seen by your 20 contacts and their 20 contacts. And so on. More chances for interaction. The idea moves farther, but faster? Don’t know.
So here’s a question. How do you put the brakes on the process and capture the most valuable ideas? Feels like you need a funnel. Maybe the entire process can be thought of as a funnel made of mesh. Maybe the mesh is discontinuous. Each connection point a person. Some connection points are frayed and won’t flow. The idea has to flow around the web to the ejection point of value.
The bigger the funnel opening, the more people involved and more possible interactions. But the ejection point could remain the same size.
So, fast innovation only benefits those that can slow the process down. What size funnel is best?
Thoughts on this? Please share.
Talked through this concepts with some of my colleagues today. It goes like this:
In today’s economy, folks are looking for ways to save money in business. More and more, social media emerges as a solution. Take, for example, the corporate conference. On average, it costs about $1,000 per head to fly attendees in and put them up for a 2 day conference. Businesses are now uncomfortable with the $250,000 spend and are looking for alternatives. Social media fills the void. Why not host a virtual conference at more modest cost, say $5,000?
This business activity defines the race to the bottom.
Similarly, businesses and its employees are looking for an “edge” in the workplace. Historically valuable conversations like “what is our market share?” are being replaced by a thirst for information. More importantly, to be the first to find hot information and report it throughout the organization. To the prospector come the riches. Today, value comes from the following statements:
- “Did you see?”
- “I found…”
- “Check this out…”
Information is driving a “race to the top” in terms of value. Each newly discovered tweet, story, or theory could be the nugget that wins recognition, fame, or accomplishment. So we mine Twitter and read RSS dumps trying to identify the tidbit that will be most valued by the organization. Through information control, the boss used to be the best informed person in the group. Now, the employees have equal access to information via the web. The equation shifts and the organization flattens.
This activity defines the race to the top.
The spread between top and bottom is information arbitrage. No longer do I need to spend hundreds of dollars on professional groups to network in my industry or thousands of dollars to bring in consultants. The web makes this information more accessible and in most cases free. The challenge for employees is to make the information palatable for the organization to devour.
The role of corporate web editor is born. Take in tons of web based information, edit, re-package, and route within the organization.
I need to think this through a bit more but wanted to get initial thoughts out there. I also realize I’m not the first to think of “Information Arbitrage” as a concept but I like the handle. What do you think?
I’ve had a few colleagues and friends start or try to start using Twitter in the last few months. Since the first few weeks can be tough for Twitter newcomers, they asked me for tips on how I started using Twitter. So here’s my approach:
1. Twitter is not easy at first
a. It takes time, patience, and routine to integrate the news flow into your personal flow
b. Start by using Twitter as a daily read. Don’t worry about posting until you have a habit of returning to Twitter
c. You have to post a picture or avatar. Otherwise Tweeters won’t take you seriously.
2. Find a hook outside of work
a. For me, it was the stock market. I found people I knew from old blogs and communities and followed them. Then I followed who they followed. The nature of the market kept me coming back daily, if not hourly. The discussion during the crash last fall was epic.
b. What are your hobbies? Cooking? Wine? Running? Chances are, you can find a like-minded person or brand on twitter.
3. Use search.twitter.com
a. Going to a conference? Search it to find attendees.
b. Search brand names, places. Twitter only allows 140 characters, so nouns dominate.
4. Probably most important to early adoption – Follow lots of people right away
a. You need 50 at least to keep you coming back
b. At 100 you’ll start to see your follower bucket grow
c. Make sure you follow people who post often. Otherwise you won’t get a good news flow
5. Use power users as editors of Twitter traffic
a. Not sure who to follow? Find someone you like/trust and cherry pick who they follow
b. Rinse and repeat
6. Finally, don’t worry about “missing a day’s worth of news”
a. I pick up the stream whenever I can
b. If I miss something, that’s ok. It sometimes gets recycled and kicked back via ReTweet by someone else
c. Search fills the holes.
At the end of the day, Twitter is a news stream. Read Twitter just like you would read a newspaper. The twist is that you can eventually publish yourself. I’ll save publishing for Twitter 201.
The following Fast Foward Blog post has the most in depth review of Twitter that I have come across. It’s extremely helpful, especially when getting off the ground. FF Blog Twitter Basics
This week’s blog post is a contribution to Minnov8. In it, I explain the concept of Connected Innovation and provide an overview of my sabbatical research.
You can connect to the Minnov8 post here:
I recently quipped to close colleagues that my sabbatical would not have materialized if it wasn’t for the new networks I was able to build through Twitter. During the last six months, Twitter connected me to leading interactive marketers, strategists, users, practitioners, and vendors in the New Media (Web 2.0) space for nothing but a little time invested. Recently, I stumbled upon a great Tweet that summarized, by comparison, the value of Twitter.
“Facebook is all about reconciling past relations, whereas Twitter is designed to make new ones. Quickly.” -@smashadv
Twitter opened new markets for my research and continues to turbo charge my thinking each day. For the most part, Twitter is a feeding ground for those who like to communicate, debate, connect and collaborate. It’s my broadcast channel, crowd-sourcing mechanism, and newspaper all-in-one.
Cisco Systems talks about leveraging the “network as platform” as a growth strategy for their business. I built a high value Twitter network in little time. Now it’s time to leverage my network for personal and organizational growth.
I leave you with a final thought from Matthew Christian, a friend of mine from the Arete Initiative at University of Chicago:
Collaboration should create synergies and change the way both collaborators think–creating innovation. That’s the power and potential.