You’re the Beneficiary from Today’s Group-Think Mentality

Twitter Chat Example of New Keys to Innovation

“We have got to overcome our hyperactive sense of exceptionalism and embrace the more collective, cooperative and globalized forces shaping the planet.”
–Neil Gabler

There was an incredibly thought-provoking op-ed piece in Sunday’s Washington Post that I would like to connect to today’s Twitter Chat at noon. It was by Neal Gabler, author of Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination. He believes that innovation in the 21st century will come out of crowds, not the “lone-wolf capitalist.” He writes, “…innovation is increasingly coming from groups, not solitary heroes. Capitalism as a communal enterprise—dare we call it collective capitalism?—is the new engine of innovation, in America and beyond…”

The problem, he writes, is that we are still wrapped up in the romanticism of the singular hero. But where Mark Zuckerberg becomes the modern Alexander Graham Bell, Gabler would argue that Facebook is just the platform, and millions of people have provided the engine, or the content to be more specific. I read a comment that said this belies the data we’ve been reading—and that I’ve written about here—that brainstorming inhibits individual ideas. But I would argue differently. I believe Gabler is agreeing with this data. He wants people to come together WITH their ideas. He wants creativity enlightened, not stifled.

This is where I would make the connection with SIPA’s weekly Twitter Chat, taking place today at noon Eastern time. Yesterday, one of the participants asked who the expert will be for today’s talk on webinars. “Well, you will be, and she will be, and he will be, etc.” The idea is that if we can assemble enough “experts” each week, then the flow of information should be wonderful. And everyone taking part will be the beneficiaries. You can ask questions and get immediate answers. Try it.

“Innovation will always need the people Malcolm Gladwell calls ‘tweakers,’ such as Steve Jobs, who connect invention to consumption, and there will never be a dearth of single entrepreneurs who form companies to market inventions,” Gabler writes. “Yet, theories about solitude and creativity notwithstanding, the basic innovative grunt work is now more likely to be done not by a lone wolf but by a wolf pack; there is simply too much information and too much complexity for it to be otherwise. We need a whole lot of brain power because one brain won’t do anymore.”

So where a Sean Oberle might suggest trying a round table format for the webinar, Larry Sterne is able to provide two excellent vendors and Leslie Davidson urges accreditation. Combined, The Next Greatest Webinar may just emerge. Interestingly, Gabler writes that there is a name for this group-think mentality: Reed’s Law, named for David Reed. It states that “the utility of networks increases exponentially with the number of participants (specifically, 2 to the nth power), because any single participant can engage with any number of other participants.” This is a Twitter Chat, and in a larger sense this is SIPA. We can give you timely Memorandums From Counsel, a library of past courses and free webinars, conferences, meetings, a monthly newsletter, a daily article and numerous other sources of information. But most of all, we give you the platforms and venues to reach each other—to share information, which members of this association do as well as anyone.

Gabler gives three examples of successful collaborations: the browser Firefox, the Netflix algorithm and an automobile company called Local Motors which is “manufacturing a car based on the ideas of designers and engineers from around the world who were brought together by a contest soliciting novel approaches to old problems. It boasts on its Web site: “Now, the crowd drives automotive innovation.” (These “contests” are a theme for another day in this space.)

So when it comes to embracing the more collective, cooperative and globalized forces, you’ve come to the right place. Now walk on in.


And tune in shortly for
SIPA’s Weekly Twitter Chat
Today’s subject: Webinars

Learn new ideas and get your questions answered
Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, 12 p.m. EST
using the hashtag #NicheInfo.

If you don’t already have a Twitter chat client,
we recommend

Once you are on their site,
simply log in through your Twitter account,
type in the hashtag #NicheInfo, and you’re set!
See you soon on Twitter!

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