One of the most novel and intriguing elements of social media is the ability to contact and connect with a disparate group of people who all have a common interest and a loosely tied social network. In Israel Nefesh B'Nefesh organized and conducted an amazing dance flash mob, attracting participants via Facebook.
The mob performs an almost 3:00 minute choreographed routine to celebrate the upcoming Hanukah holiday in the hear of the Jerusalem shopping and entertainment district known as Ben Yehudah Street. The performance is reminiscent of a 'Mob' executed by Improv Everywhere - a ad hock troupe from New York which was recently featured on NYP's This American Life.
I love the creativity and organization involved. In particular the leveraging of a social network system to bring together such a large group so quickly is what is most inspiring and impressive. I think the below video is even more entertaining since it gives so much great back story into the making of a flash mob.
A central theme to exceptional innovation is the ability to collect, correlate, and cull ideas at a break neck pace. An organizations ability to process ideas through a sound and well designed decisions process has never been the slow part of innovation, it has been the identification and collection of a wide enough set of potential ideas and solutions.
As Innovation consultants we recognize that the best laid systems for screening and prototyping innovations are worthless if there are no ideas to act on. Casting a wide net and considering all potential ideas is what we recommend. Beyond that, there is value in even the most mundane concepts, the key is process that encourages recombinant concepts that are born of multiple smaller ideas. The sum can always be greater that the whole of its parts if assembled correctly.
Ideas While You Sleep is a very intriguing product that sources concepts from around the world by posing your particular challenge to many individuals and solicits thier repsones. For those who would say that this is cheating, we would say that it is a creative way to crowdsource creativity. Who has the ideas is the least of concerns, it is what you can colelctively do withthem that is the deffinition of ultimate value.
In certain communities, access to watter is the key to survival, and thank to high design there is a more practical water transportation mechanism than buckets on heads. The Hippo Roller is nothing more than a barrel with a hollow center through which you place a harness and drag / pull it behind you. With curved shoulders it is ideal or traversing winding paths and unpaved roads. GOOD NEWS has a fantastic show on the development of the Roller.
This inspired me to look a bit further into water access and technology. I found an old Boing Boing post I remembered reading about using the power of play to drive wells. Seesaws and round abouts drive the pumping mechanisms, bringing valuable water to the surface and into holding tanks from aquifers in arid regions.
I also looked for and found a copy of a presentation by Alex Steffen from WorldChanging.org at POPTech! about sustainability. When i was there in 2006 and he had on display a Hippo Roller prototype! What was interesting was the way that the community at POPTech was so enamored with the idea of design and how it can make such an impact on the lives of so many that everyone at that meeting went back to their challenges with design in mind.
There seems to be an endless stream of useful, and semi useful applications for the the iPhone. As a parent I will give the iPhone baby monitor application a nod and speak to the value of innovation that made this possible.
The intrinsic value of the iPone is not that it is a great gadget, but that it allows people to develop amazing tools for a device that seems to have the structure to enable an unlimited number of creative uses. The baby monitor application uses a few of the features parlayed into each other (sound recognition, movement recognition, and cellular calling) to make a usefull application. Someone could easily have rebranded this as an intrusion alarm that will call the home phone if it detects the sound of a breaking window, or a person going through drawers. They did not - the developer saw a more gentel and meaningful use - monitoring a sleeping baby from anywhere on the 3G Network. Nice purpose driven development!
I was doing some cleaning upon my twitter lists today and I began to notice more and more spam accounts. Heck, there are event twitterspam, and stop twitter spam sites. Give, we all knew this would happen eventually, but the concept is illogical. Micro posting spam is about as effective as e-mail spam ... it gets caught and you get booted. Moreover users, I would think, would tun off your feed, report you, and then you get booted.
On the other hand, I have seen some nice uses of marketing via twitter. Product updates, information, and insider goodies all are appearing on twitter seducing potential users to join the stream and reap the rewards. As it is still a relatively small community, comparatively, I think there is a lot of intimacy and authenticity here and that is why I am taking the time to clean out my lists and make sure I am really getting the updates I.
One of the most difficult things about being a leading organization is maintaining a competitive edge through the development and implementation of innovative ideas. Often organizations and their employees are so involved in their work that they lack the time or perspective to generate innovative concepts to bring to market.
So the smartest organizations are asking everyone for their input. Part of the benefit is the capacity for outside perspective from numerous people converging on one problem, or a set of problems. The New York Times has an article out about this crowd sourcing of innovative ideas. The American Cacner Society does something similar through its ACS Springboard Innovation program. ACS solicits ideas from all of its staff and volunteers but also has a portal open to the public.
In the Netherlands there is a new gaming system that gets kids up and moving outside and indoors too. Swinx is a device that have downloadable audio profiles that organize and direct kids in fun games anywhere there is some open space. Players wear RFID wristbands to help Swinx determine position and activity level of each player.
Our friend and social media maven Beth Kanter has posted a insightful interview with our other friend and frequent co-presenter David Neff. David using the Sharinghope.tv platform to provide 3 key tips to non profits when entering the social medial space.
The tips are 1. Experiment, 2. Buys a video Camera, and 3. Research what other companies and organizations are doing in the field and learn from their success and mistakes. These suggestions are not only valid for nonprofits but they ring true to any organization or company. Part of being successful is understanding the space you are entering. Any for profit company will invest money and research into understanding new markets before getting into them. With social media all you really need is a few adventurous staff members to try things on with an eye always focusing on the organization's goal.
Our program Sharing Hope TV recently received press coverage from a local Austin, TX news broadcast. The story takes a look at one user and how she is using the platform to support others in their fight against cancer. Our good friend David Neff was interviewed and really discusses the community nature of the space.
What is of particular interest is how the community at Sharing Hope TV is able to self express and support at the same time. The community is a niche community and they are using the site and the underlying technology in new was not previously designed for. Of major interest is the Creative Commons content compositions, where one artists compiles and reconstitutes works, or pieces of works from other artists into something new and unique.