The Value of Curated Platforms for Innovators

The Value of Curated Platforms for InnovatorsI would like to lay out some thoughts on why we should be considering a curation platform for innovation and the value it can bring to a broader innovation community.

These are some opening thoughts that I felt needed to just “hang out there” and see where they take me and you as a reader.

The issue I am reflecting upon is our growing concern that we all are living in a world heading towards digital overload, with the risk of it simply overwhelming us, and becoming more isolated and detached within this.

We can’t simply rely on focusing around ‘all things’ digital, we need people to bring the insights and their experience together for the eventual innovation solutions. We need to provide curated platform for innovation, to make all the essential connections.

Learning is changing, are we absorbing or just simply gathering?

What can we do to solve this? Perhaps to offer a service on building a specific content platform. In this case around innovation. It has to be built on a more fluid, responsive and constant flow of knowledge. It cannot be static it has to be highly dynamic, it needs to relate to each of us specifically but be broad enough to cater for the wider community within innovation looking for innovation knowledge and understanding.

What are some of the principles we need?

Curation platforms for innovation of any type need is to reduce and define any “signal & noise”ratio effect. What exactly is needed to build one that helps us  learn more about our needs as innovators?

I am attempting to put some of my opening thoughts on the value and reasons to think about the role of an innovation curator, its place, and justification. So this piece is simply placing some “stakes in the ground” to build from, to give a ‘certain’ foundation to build upon. These are preliminary thoughts that I wanted to capture and revisit later but I thought I’d share some of my initial thoughts here. Here we go:

You need to anchor and establish clear coordinates into the innovation world

Keys have to be: know how to narrow the vision, construct the ‘appropriate’ content that is required (needs and related driven), understanding the differences in true value and screen out the noise factor and build up the sensing signal. Providing a clear access to a depth of knowledge and understanding of innovation and its make-up- building a true curating platform, managing across the total innovation environment, one that continues to build the more it attracts knowledge and contributions.

Managing innovation in its totality – Placing “trust” inside

So often the power lies in the story, knowing how to construct this and being a really active listener and responder needs curation. Like respected publications, you want to build the source that can be trusted, knowing there is quality, knowledge, and expertise in what is being offered and sitting ‘inside’ as the core processor, delivering the ‘power’ of innovation understanding in outcomes.

Building on themes, driving quality and engagement

The audience you would be expecting is one that both ‘requires and demands’. Pushing out general, generic articles has limited value, the ‘need’ is to have clear ‘content curation strategies’ that

a) drive traffic to build ongoing value for each person wanting to know

 b) provide growing scale and ‘broad’ connection and association so you build a growing body of networked understanding

c) establish opportunities to engage deeper with individuals, teams and organizations that can lead on to building greater innovation capability

d) that provoke discussion, exchanges, and engagement in vibrant communities, looking to engage, build and share

e) tell those ‘richer and relevant’ stores that make the relevant connection that comes from this story sharing building valuable narratives that can be ‘taken away’ and applied.

Moving from broadcast to human

The broadcasting effect is what is giving much of our present overload. We rapidly tune out to anything that we ‘sense through a ‘skim and move on’ approach that is not in our “lens of understanding”.  How do we build a community platform of trust? It needs to be more from human engagement to augment ‘machine learning’. Building a coaching, mentoring capacity, so that you can constantly be checking back on “knowing the difference between real (immediate) value, building up new value and nice to know and useful”. Feedback and engagement become essential, building and offering “plausible foresight”.

Robert Wolcott, Professor of Innovation, Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University suggested we are moving towards a “sensory overload”. How can we discern differences that allow us to separate this flow of information into knowledge we need or can apply from its value.

We are known more and more by the ‘digital content we wear’

More and more our digital presence is becoming our clothing; it reflects (to others) what we stand for, it present ‘us’ to the world, what we stand for, value and care about. Social media enables us but it determines us. How we wrap this becomes our voice and this needs to project authentic and trusted positions. It should promote curiosity and try to be thought-provoking. Curating for this authentic position needs cutting through much of this “signal & noise” effect to ground our thinking in more informed ways

Contextual value and content management

Defining the quality of engagement, in voicing opinions needs a highly open listening stance. Any “going-in” may change as you learn what has real value, what engages, what “matters to me”.  Becoming a good listener allows for the potential to alter your views on what “sways you” in opinions, as they ‘seem’ reasonable, heard from others, grounded in a growing ‘body of evidence’ and application from ‘real’ experience.

How can we find more “time out” and provide more space to become more reflective?

It is through listening that this becomes a powerful source of change as you combine understanding and work together to make the change. There is a need for a constant searching and relevance building, giving ‘voice and evolving (relevant) stories’, constructing content that moves the searcher of knowledge towards ‘greater’ solutions. Encouraging a network of “being aware” where the value is in this growing network of relationships where we all are open to learning, others gain and we share in this.

Content management systems need purposeful design

Increasing curation tools make linking seem easy; you can drag and drop, search and find, to build content curation, you receive increasing ‘intelligence’ to what you need or are looking for. This works within social engagement, person to person if you allow it but it gets considerably harder for innovation specific issues, problems or knowledge transfer as more than often we are dealing with unique situations. We can learn from others, set specifically in their context so we can gain better understanding but it can’t be simply lifted up and placed into our situation.

The building of personal knowledge is relating to others experiences.

The more we build personal knowledge, through experience and experimentation we can build on that sense of passion, experience, reputation and “pulling out the headlines” that provoke, bundle and encourage participation and reactions. We move into “seeing beyond” possibilities because we opened our thinking up.

So what makes up a good curator?

In summary, the best knowledge curator is both a distributor and a collector, so any curating platform needs to equally be set up to arrange and re-order to meet needs, to communicate a balanced opinion.

The curator should work to a consistent rhythm, can operate equally as a filter and funnel, has that ability to magnify at the right time and is seen as capable of being well plugged in, possessing a deep broad knowledge about the subject of innovation.

Today we need far more curators within our lives, to assist us and help shape our thinking in new and exciting ways – and get on with innovating in better informed ways than the past.

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paul-hobcraft-150x150Paul Hobcraft runs Agility Innovation, an advisory business that stimulates sound innovation practice, researches topics that relate to innovation for the future, as well as aligning innovation to organizations core capabilities. Follow @paul4innovating

Paul Hobcraft

Paul Hobcraft is recognized for his consistency to champion and informs on innovation. He focuses on building innovation capacity, competencies, and capabilities and promotes innovation in informative, creative and knowledgeable ways, piecing together the broader understanding of innovation. Paul continually constructs a series of novel and relevant frameworks to help advance this innovation understanding and writes mainly through his posting site of where he regularly publishes his thinking and research based on solutions that underpin his advisory, coaching and consulting work at




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