A collection of strong and weak ties comprise the innovation ecosystem's social network. Strong ties are those with whom you interact most and have an emotional bond such as your family, friends, and close co-workers. Weak ties are your acquaintances and business colleagues. To reduce the over embeddedness of knowledge, a continual flow of rejuvenating information within the innovation ecosystem is necessary. When networks are comprised mainly of strong, dense ties, there is a risk they will not include any new knowledge that can be brought to bear on a particular problem. When only around like minded people we are often susceptible to the Illusion of Validity even in the face of facts counter to our beliefs. The echo chambers of social media are a prime example of this phenomenon. Despite research suggesting a mix of strong ties and weak ties are the most favorable to encouraging innovation, people and organizations tend to gravitate to homogenized environments, and as a result, they have access to the same information. This over-reliance on strong ties can result in firms failing due to the lack of new information to address the problems they are facing or validate a failing solution. Unfortunately, due to this illusion of validity, homogenization of the network, and an absence of an appreciation of new knowledge from seemingly unrelated industries further diminishes the capacity for innovation.Read More
Innovations can come out of the most unexpected places. Understanding its origins can easily be overly simplified into a moment of eureka when inspiration strikes. We don’t see the accumulation of circumstances that led to this moment. We often discount the influence of previous innovations on our outlook. In many cases, the innovation story succumbs to the narrative fallacy where we assign a more significant role to luck than to talent and mindset.
While luck can be an essential ingredient, we must be prepared to recognize and act when opportunity or information presents itself. As Louis Pasteur declared in 1854, “In the fields of observation chance favors only the prepared mind.” It requires one to recognize the importance of what they are seeing but also be open to diverse ideas. We then need to able to make the connections.Read More
It is important to get beyond the word "Innovation". The word captures the complex processes of generating and executing ideas. It so easy to use and it makes us feel good. Yet the word itself isn't useful in helping us understand the complex processes that it involves. If we want to create environments and programs conducive to increasing innovative activities, it is important to build a robust vocabulary and knowledge base that informs the discussion. As a part of our exploration into Nashville's innovation ecosystem, we set out to better understand and raise awareness of the mechanics of innovation. What we learned was that increasing the diversity and availability of information is essential to the innovation process and the quality of city's social network is central to facilitating this. How this happens is what we will explore over the next several posts.
Innovation is more than creative ideas. It is in large part the execution of the ideas. Creativity without execution is not innovation. Too often innovation is only associated with the moment of inspiration. The commercialization of a creative solution is a critical part of the innovation process and it takes a network of individuals to accomplish this. The five components of the innovation ecosystem: enabling environment, physical infrastructure, capital, networks, and talent, work together to facilitate the generation and commercialization of new ideas.Read More