Sunday, March 14, 2010

Innovation and Communities of Creation

The Council of Competitiveness published the National Innovation Initiative Report in 2004. It noted the changing nature of innovation itself - -
  • It is diffusing at ever increasing rates.
  • It is multidisciplinary and technologically complex and will arise from the intersection of different fields.
  • It is collaborative, requiring active cooperation and communication among scientists and engineers and between creators and users.
  • Workers and consumers are embracing new ideas, technologies, and content - - and demanding more creativity from their creators.
  • It is becoming global in scope - - with advances coming from centers of excellence around the world and from the demands of billions of new consumers.

Organizations and engineers need to focus their attention on the different types of networks and communities that produce potential innovation opportunities. Innovation networks -- with many different types of actors and players scattered over a global stage. You have the designers - - key network members that influence the evolution of an innovation network. You have the "worker bees" that act as adapters - - providing specialized knowledge and network infrastructure services. Finally, you have the brokers - - individuals charged with linking members, mediating interactions, technology brokering or knowledge transfer.

Engineering in the context of innovation will increasingly be focused on searching for communities of creation beyond the existing four walls of most organizations. Innovation and creativity creation will be organized like social networks - - networks organized around social knowledge. Facebook for the innovative. These networks will be global in reach, electronically focused with both formal and informal organizational structures. Call it creativity shopping in the global marketplace of ideas, products, and technologies - - engineers scouting and searching for key social knowledge networks.

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