Building that community, quick connection points

Quick note to highlight some podcasts/blog posts that have been discussing communities.

  • Doc Searls discusses the "Giant Zero": a statement to describe the hollow sphere as a "giant zero” that it puts every point at virtually zero distance from every other point.
  • HBR IdeaCast discusses "What Is Wikinomics?".
  • Chris Brogan's very interesting statement Meet People NOT Business Cards!

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Mininnovation university: quick activity to get your brain cranking

What do you think about challenging assumptions as a way to get your brain to turn left and create new alternatives to products and services? Here is the challenge:

What assumptions do you have about your company, or your company's products and services? OK, don't want to poke at your stuff? Think about other people's products and services!

Here is a quick assist to jump the thinking: Think about all the things you assume about gas cans, those red (now there is an assumption!) things you use to fill up your mower, and in emergencies, your car. Write down as many assumptions as you can about those gas cans ... Then (only after your list is done) take a look at this Kevin Kelly Cool Tools web page.

Now think about your products/services OR other people's products / services.
  • Pick one (your company, or one of your company's products or services) and write down as many assumptions as you can about it.
  • Look at your list and think about the results, actions, or changes that could be taken if one of those assumptions were removed.

I am interested in what you discover while thinking about this. Post your chosen product/service and the assumptions you listed as a comment.

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Whare do you scan for new ideas and opportunities?

This weekend I discovered a couple of new resources that fall into the "scanning the environment" category.

The first resource are the TEDTalks. TED are the Technology, Entertainment, and Design conferences, started by Richard Saul Wurman in 1984. TED brings extremely interesting people together to have a conversation and dialog on technology, entertainment, and design and their impacts on society, people, culture, and the future. TEDTalks are the media outcomes of the event, either as audio or video. You can subscribe to the podcast or consume directly on the web at you desktop.

The second resource I discovered is the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast(tm). This is a free podcast featuring breakthrough ideas and commentary from leading thinkers in business and management.

I could leave those resources as is but I think part of the story is how I (re) discovered these resources. The TEDTalks I discovered by happenstance. Several years ago one of the people I worked with was invited to participate in TEDMED, a medical/health care version of TED. I found the interaction Richard Saul Wurman created very refreshing. He challenged anyone who participated and being pushed generated a true conversation on the topic at hand. Over the last year I lost track on TED happenings and was reminded of this by a magazine article. This prompted me to do a google search and in the process discovered the podcast (plus other TED material on the web!).

The second part of this resource discovery story comes from a message from Chris Penn of the Financial Aid Podcast sent out. Chris is all over the social networking web, trying out and playing with all the latest Web 2.x technology. In his LinkedIn experiment, he prompted people to share their top five listened to podcasts. I gave mine and then went looking through the list contributed by others. One person mentioned the HBR IdeaCast... I was interested and checked it out.

The core of this story is to continue to remind yourself of the need to find ideas from outside your immediate sources. Think about the shift of NIH (Not Invented Here) to PSE (Proudly Found Elsewhere). Or the shift from R&D (research and development) to C&D (connect and develop). How can you discover ideas and then weave them together to create value for you and your customer?

Update from readers:

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