Can Your Friends Make You More Innovative?

Social influence is important to innovation. One of the critical steps in innovating is getting our great new ideas to spread – and this is often an issue of social influence. Here is an excellent short talk from network researcher Sinan Aral about how to measure social influence:

Sinan Aral: Social Contagion from PopTech on Vimeo.

Here are some of the key ideas that arise from the talk:

  • The economy is a network: in order to understand how innovations diffuse, and how ideas spread, we have to think about the economy as a network. We don’t make decisions in a vacuum – decisions are a social action (see the collected work of Mark Earls on this topic).
  • Your network is also important for idea generation: Jorge Barba recently asked whether innovation is primarily an individual or a group activity. It’s a group effort – just as decisions are social actions, so is idea generation.
  • Can Your Friends Make You More Innovative?

  • If your friends are making you fat, are they also making you innovative?: this is the key issue – if idea generation is a social act, and you want to be more innovative, then you need to spend more time with people and groups that are more innovative.

If we want to innovate more effectively, we have to gain a better understanding of how social influence works.

In the meantime, it’s probably a good idea to start hanging out with people that seem to have a lot of ideas.

Let me know what you think.

Or even better, tell your friends to come and let me know what they think!

Support the blog - Order your copy of 'Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire'

Don’t miss an article (2,200+) – Subscribe to our RSS feed and join our Innovation Excellence group!


Tim KastelleTim Kastelle is a Lecturer in Innovation Management in the University of Queensland Business School. He blogs about innovation at the Innovation Leadership Network.

Tim Kastelle

NEVER MISS ANOTHER NEWSLETTER!

Categories

LATEST BLOGS

Cultivating food from the air we breathe: How decades-old NASA technology is still delivering disruptive tech today

By Dan Blacharski | June 29, 2021

The “Replicator” machine seen on the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” television series was imagined as a 24th century technology…

Read More

Il Sole 24 Ore and qiibee launch the first book ever made on Blockchain & NFT

By Francesco Pagano | June 23, 2021

The first book in the world made on blockchain, the first ‘decentralized’ discussion on leadership, completely shared and co-created with…

Read More

Leave a Comment