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Tag: secret sauce

What is the Secret Sauce of Innovation?

Most studies on Innovation study the to 99th percentile human in the hope of discovering the “secret sauce” of wealth creation. One such study identifies 5 discovery skills and conclude that the top innovators are also in the top percentile for all these skills. What a surprise that the top university would conclude that they – and people like them – were the secret sauce of all wealth creation.

But what about the rest of the world? What about the individuals and teams of people who actually carry out the plans of those great people? Are they relegated to the footnotes or is there a way for two or more people to simulate the attributes of a 99th percentile person?

This video argues that a 6th discovery skill is the ability to recognize one’s weaknesses AND the strengths of another person. This takes humility and an knowledge inventory of one’s community. Given the ubiquitousness of the persistent economic crisis, ostensibly managed by those paragons of intellect, the masters of the 5 discovery skills – we may need a new way of building so-called “consensus” about what innovation is and who the innovators are.

(I did fail to point out in this discussion that the ability to network with similar people is a distinctly different than the ability to network with dissimilar people. As such, the 5th discovery skill and the 6th are distinct)

The Culture of Buying

My wife and I visited Istanbul a few years ago and met a very nice person who offered to take our photo in front of an ancient building.  Afterward, he gave us a history lesson about the area we were visiting.  He then invited us to his shop to look at some carpets.

Before we knew it, he was entertaining us with stories about the history of carpet making as a young boy pulled down stacks of carpets and displayed them one by one as we sat in comfortable chairs.  The shopkeeper identified attributes, color combination and traditional design patterns with an enchanting story for each one.

After a while, the shopkeeper from next door walks in with a tray of hot tea as we continued learning about the carpets.  A bit later, we all went across the street for a traditional Turkish snack and more tea. Then back to the shop for more carpet viewing.

Hey buddy, not so fast.

My wife and I decided to make a purchase but instead of taking our money, he took us back across the street to smoke the Hookah, sip real Turkish coffee and listen to live traditional musicians.

The whole process took many hours but it was like traveling in time.  Istanbul has been the crossroads of commerce between two continents for thousands of years.  We ended up paying too much money for the carpets – but to this day they are among our fondest memories and most prized possessions.  They represent an indescribable experience in an exotic and comfortable setting.  Now they look beautiful in our home.

Human Nature

It is human nature to trade.  People want to do it.  People want to meet other people.  People want to learn.  They want to share. People want to buy things and people want to sell things.  They want to congregate.  They want to travel.  People want new experiences.  They want to laugh, smile, sip tea, and listen to music. They want fond memories and beautiful carpets.

So why is monetizing social media so complicated?  What is the big secret?

The transaction of conversation, relationship, and knowledge:

With social media, people are invited by friends, family, or associates to walk through an electronic door and into their inventory of relationships.  Few people realize that this is a profound act of friendship, kindness, and trust.  Think about it, people trust you with their relationships. How do we manage that?

However, neither party is fully aware of the conditions upon which the relationships present their self.  The cultural infrastructure of introducing people, assisting in the exchange of conversation, and transaction of knowledge in social media is not established.  The idea that a transaction can and should take place is not fully recognized.  The introduction of the people to each other does not have a process, taxonomy, a location factor, or a time function.

Then again, social media has not been around for thousands of years

No buyer, no seller:

•    If social media develops a culture of sales – it will fail.

•    If social media develops a culture of buying – it will thrive for thousands of years.

Creative Credit Crisis

“Luke, use the Force”

Creativity is a mystery to many – like an invisible force that drives the universe but can only be seen in retrospect.  If so, then Hollywood is the master of retrospect.

Most movie viewers think that the credits at the end of a movie are for their benefit.  Then they get frustrated when the print is so small and scrolling impossibly fast.  Actually, the credits are for the benefit of Hollywood. This is their knowledge management system.  They know how to communicate the Force.

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more”

Being listed in movie credits is by no means an easy task. Every creative job from lead actor to hairdresser has a category. It often takes many years, serious peer review, and marketable success.  However, once listed in the credits you become a managing partner, shareholder, and a currency in the Hollywood creative capital inventory.  This inventory is captured and categorized in the Internet Movie Database (IMDb).  This is their resume system.

As a credited creative worker, you are forever on public display; a good movie credit reflects well on your credits and a bad movie may reflect poorly.  You need to be somewhat selective over what projects to work on.  Likewise, everyone will check the credits of others that are working on the project.  Everyone cooperates fully and in the best interest of the production.  It is in everyone’s best interest to be correctly allocated in the creative capital pool.

“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”

It’s all about who knows you. The Producers proactively seek and test the “secret sauce” for communicating drama, comedy, action, etc.  They reflect on past projects then attempt to capture strategic combinations of creative capital assets for future projects.  The project becomes the people. The people celebrate each other on award nights and through tangential media. They adopt technology, share ideas, and diversify readily.  As a result, creativity and innovation are quite predictable.

“You’re going to need a bigger boat”

Contrast this to the traditional American Corporation – the ones that we expect to float us out of this financial meltdown through vast new wisdom, creativity, and innovation.  Most are top-down command and control operations with many layers of management that all have the power to say “no”, but not the power to say “yes”.  Instead of arriving at the best decisions, they often arrive at the least-worst decisions.

“Theater is like a box of chocolates”

Now, reflect on this nascent social media industry unfolding all around us.  Readers harvest new ideas on public display from all over the world and apply them to local products.   Such products, by definition, reflect the goals, aspiration, talents, and interests of the people who create them.  The content improves information shared by many sources.  Content of merit with enough credits can elevate the author to the status of “thought leader”.  But something is still missing.

“What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate”

Social media needs a definite product that the whole industry can rally around – that product is ‘communication’.  Social media must produce, improve, and deliver communication. Very few problems are created by communication but many problems are solved with communication.  Communication improves information, knowledge and innovation.  Solved problems are defined as innovations. It is a simple matter of how we organize ourselves;  as a creative industry or as a control industry.

Credits:

Star Wars

Wizard of Oz

Casablanca

Jaws

Twitter

Cool Hand Luke

The Global Financial Crisis; The End Game

The year is 2024, no burning cities, no mass hysteria, no bread lines; the economy is on an exponential growth curve.  It took a while, but the financial crisis of ended in an anticlimactic sort of way.  Sure, lots of hedge fund bankers became unemployed, some went to jail, and many companies once deemed titans of industry have disappeared, but nobody seemed to notice much anymore.

Government debt has been eliminated and Wall Street has become the steward of what has become an Innovation Economy rising from the ashes of debt economics.  The transition, in fact, was surprisingly smooth.  Social Network applications such as Facebook, Linkedin, G+, and many more, developed a clever way to make knowledge tangible outside the construct of Wall Street and the traditional corporations and people began trading knowledge like currency.

When inflation hit, the dollar started to fall in value, people began trading a different currency called the rallod (dollar spelled backwards).  The rallod was backed by future productivity resulting from innovation rather than future productivity supporting debt.  When the dollar finally crashed, it pegged to the rallod and the economy began to grow again with an astonishing, yet peaceful, transfer of wealth and power to open sourced self-regulating communities; i.e., society in general.  The vicious cycle of debt economics was reversed just in time.  It’s still hard to believe what happened.

Today the engines of economic growth are tens of thousands of hot new start-ups that exist in the form of “Value Games” related to specific technology areas rather than the old corporation model.  They automatically cluster around a technology and spin off other start-ups at an incredible rate in a strange nesting arrangement called the “tangential innovation” market.  Most innovation is open sourced because the “Patent” (and protectionism in general) is no longer the center of the innovation finance universe, rather, the “secret sauce” of social, creative, and intellectual capital is the most valuable asset today.

About 15 years ago, something resembling the human genome project mapped all knowledge in the form of social, creative, and intellectual capital that exists in society to a very high granularity.  An API standard was created to represent knowledge assets like packets of code that are processed by a community algorithm. The CV/resume is an old bar joke now. Thanks to a visionary government, 1st amendment protections were built into this inventory with anonymity laws and privatized TOU; creators own what they create.

An open source percentile search engine was created to enable entrepreneurs to build unique collections of knowledge assets and predict the probability that various combinations of these assets could successfully execute a business plan.  High diversification induced hyper-innovation around technologies and the resulting innovations are spun out to be reabsorbed by different and diverse communities of practice in continuous iterations forming a virtuous vortex of new systems, methods, and solutions.  Sketched out, these arrangements looked like electrical “integrated” circuits.  Wealth creation is intense.

Since the knowledge inventory has mapped all knowledge and the Percentile Search Engine calculated probabilities and scenarios, the Innovation bank formed to make most worthy and optimal matches between knowledge surplus and knowledge deficit in a community.  Since the probability of innovation success has become predictable, innovation risk is now diversified away.  Innovation insurance products abound. With near-zero innovation risk the cost of venture capital has approached 5-7 % instead of 500-2000% of less than a decade ago.  Banks now issue innovation bonds on the public market to finance innovation in society.  For an investment of such high return and such little risk, participation is near universal.  This created another virtuous circle; the more innovation that occurs, the more money is created.  The more money that is created, the more innovation occurs.

Instead of having jobs, many people in a geographic area are pinged by the Percentile Search Engine which calculates the likelihood that their interaction together will increase the probability of successful execution of a business plan when combined with other knowledge assets.  Instead of earning wages, people collect micro-royalties specified by contracts on capital asset sub-sections. These micro-royalties add up to substantial residual income enjoying a multiplier effect as their work continues downstream over their lifetime. The government funds social security through it’s own innovation ventures. Service workers such as police, teachers, fire fighters, nurses, local merchants, etc., are key beneficiaries because of their impact on the community is directly associated with productivity.

Many of the senior knowledge workers have determined that they can earn more money by taking an equity position in their students, and the students of their student.  Unlike a decade ago, pyramid schemes in innovation economics are sustainable and generate astonishing profits.  Mentors have entered the landscape in vast numbers and apprenticeships have become abundant.  The income potential for the “creating creators” boggles the imagination.   Again, a virtuous circle has formed between the mentor and the student. In aggregate, wisdom is being retained, refined, and transferred efficiently throughout social networks.

University “degrees” have disappeared in favor of unique combinations of knowledge assets that are continually SEO’d for best Percentile Search Engine Placement.  People do not compete directly, rather, they compete with the Percentile Search Engine in the local market place by cooperating among each other.  As owners of their knowledge assets, the entrepreneurial spirit is ubiquitous.  No individual has either a monopoly or an identical knowledge set as anyone else.  Everyone has perfect information about the knowledge assets in a market.  People are pinged for different reasons at different times for different rates depending on supply and demand.  Continuous education is a social event in itself, often mistaken for recreation!

Even the poorest areas of the planet are getting into the action because, by definition, the parts of an economy with the highest potential for technological change correspond to opportunities that return the highest dividends in an innovation economy.  Arbitrage opportunities between master and oppressor have disappeared worldwide.

Like a neural network, the economic system of tangible knowledge is self-correcting, fault tolerant, and self-regulating.  Governments across the globe tried to stop the social network driven innovation economy – but they eventually gave up.  It was like trying to stop water; it flowed between the cracks and simply eroded the barriers.  The most incredible outcome is that innovation now reflects long term social priorities instead of short term Wall Street priorities.

Oil production has been replaced by superconducting wind turbines, global temperatures have stabilized, all cars are electric or “water leakers” (as the hydro’s are affectionately known), many diseases have been cured, and the list goes on.  It is hard to believe this happened in only 12 years.  Then again, the Internet had only been widely used 15 years prior to 2009.  Did I mention, we’re finally sending a multinational expedition to Mars…

Necessity Is The The Mother of All Stimuli

So who exactly is paying for this? The next economic stimulus package will not come from the halls of Washington or the boardrooms of Wall Street, but from the streets of America.  The objective of The Ingenesist Project is to induce a crowd sourced innovation economy by integrating Social Media with three web applications. It’s all about to become extremely exciting.

Social Media Grows Legs

There only remains three tiny applications yet to be developed and deployed to social media that will allow human knowledge to become tangible outside the construct of a corporation, and therefore, independent of Wall Street.  Social media technology is very close to duplicating nearly every function of the corporation outside of the traditional corporate structure.  America’s most valuable asset is not money, it is social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital, and it’s about to stand up, brush itself off, and walk away from the mess left by the excesses of greed and power.

The Evolution of a Species:

1. Social Media will be used to develop a knowledge inventory in a computer code based on, say, the Dewey Decimal System.  Suddenly, human knowledge will become organized like a library and searchable by computer in very high resolution.

2. Boolean logic will be applied to the knowledge inventory and the resume will be replaced by a high resolution computer readable descriptive code.

3. Communities of practice will normalize (bell curve) their knowledge domain. At this point, knowledge will appear in the same form as a financial instrument and can then be treated as a tangible asset.

4. A percentile search engine will calculate the probability that a various collections of knowledge assets can execute collections of innovation business plan scenarios.

5. An Innovation Bank will match most worthy knowledge deficit to most worthy knowledge surplus and keep a record of the “secret sauce” of success feeding back to the search engine.

Wall Street Calculus:

Using the same equations as Wall Street, the Innovation Bank will predict the probability that a venture will be successful given a set of knowledge assets.  The Innovation Bank can then predict the future cash flows associated with the venture. Now, thousands of ventures and their predicted cash flows can be combined, diversified, and diced up into innovation bonds having superior returns over any other investment.  Investors will flood the Innovation System with cash.  This cash will be used to fund more innovation investment and the cycle will continue.  Everyone takes an equity position and innovation reflects social priorities rather than Wall Street priorities.  This changes everything.

This can happen today with existing infrastructure.  The only thing needed is a social movement; that’s what Americans are best at.  Where does this leave Wall Street, failing businesses, and all their debt?  The funny thing about knowledge assets is that they can walk if necessary.

The First Mile in Social Media

The Last Mile….

Back in the early days of Broadband, the cost of sending a signal across the Pacific Ocean was negligible compared to the cost of delivering that signal to everyone in town – the problem was called the called “The Last Mile”.

Predictably, companies battled it out in the Dot-Com Wars with a flurry of IPOs and hostile takeovers clambering to fill “The Last Mile” void.  Then the issue largely disappeared.  I guess the cable TV folks figured it out because that is who I send my money to for the speedy bits.  Last week I was chatting with the FiOS folks burying fiber optic cable near my mailbox.  They said it’s going to get faster.

…of Social Media….

Social media currently suffers from “The Last Mile” syndrome.  Social Media applications have enabled me to make friends in India, Israel, Colombia, Mexico, Japan, and everywhere in between. I can shout out to 3 million people with the click of a mouse, but not the wonderful family living a few houses down the street.   I met them while chatting with the FiOS folks who were burying fiber optic cable near our mailboxes.

…is where the rubber meets the road

I really enjoy my online friends and the sharing of information makes me smarter and introduces me to new ideas.  But these ideas are not very productive until I apply them to something that actually touches the ground, like the FiOS cables.  The secret to finding a business case for social media can be found in “The Last Mile”.  It would seem that innovators and entrepreneurs would be strafing each other to fill this vastly under served market and lucrative market segment. This is where the money is. Hello, is this thing on?

But the scalability is lost.

I have found a few applications like Meet-up, Biznik, Ning, Neighborex, Start-up Weekend, etc., but they are just not catching fire like the calculus suggests that they should.  The problem is that the scaling is lost.  The advertising revenue model carried over from radio and TV requires millions of impressions to be viable.  The demographic of “The Last Mile” are groups of 2-8 people living within a few miles of each other – a corporate business model just does not exist to serve “The Last Mile”.

The First Mile…

Meanwhile, the old one-way advertising model is dying off quickly and the two-way advertising paradigm is sending all the major corporations and media outlets to the drawing board looking for the social media strategy.  Corporation are now expected to provide real value to a community, but they can’t figure out how to scale that value. The Irony is that most of those same corporations were started by 2-8 people living within a few miles of each other.  Maybe we should call it “The First Mile” and then re investigate the role of Social Media.

…holds the the secret sauce…

In the future of innovation economics, patents will not be the most valuable object, rather, the secret sauce that comes up with the innovations that will be the most valuable.  Corporation can employ social media to provide a practical and repeatable program that empowers a community.  Corporations can strategically assemble local entrepreneurs into spin-off entities. Corporations could license their IP, open-source their technologies, share internal strategy, and provide executive coaching that helps community teams to form new corporations discovering tangential and future markets.  Corporations should teach people what they do best – making money.

…where the scalability is found.

So where is the scalability?  Hey, let me hop on my new FiOS line with my 8 friends from down the street and we’ll just shout out to our 24 million global neighbors – and we’ll get back to you.

The Résumé Must Die

Résumé: A French word for separating the body from the brain

We are entering a renewal in the work force.  The global imperative is for the United States to become an innovation economy now.  This is an entirely different animal than the Industrial revolution; I have long argued that the résumé system is by far the most archaic knowledge management “currency” of trade in use today.

The entire premise of the résumé is destitute, if not destructive, in the modern world.  Words on a computer screen are a very low level ‘media form’ being used to describe a very high ‘media form’; social, creative, and intellectual capital.  It’s like using crayons to design an aircraft.

If the key words are so important, why have any other words?

A manager always hires people that remind them of themselves.  They estimate the future success of a candidate based on their own limited, and often static, past experiences.  The world is moving so fast and has become so complex that no manager can possibly know enough to capitalize the future based on a viable statistical sample of past experiences – we’re all holding on for dear life in a hurricane of change.   The problems and opportunities of the future are so huge, so important, and happening so amazingly fast yet the allocation of human resources is worse than random for a candidate pool.

While the Ingenesist Project discusses a solution at great length, I’ll just stop complaining and share a few comments (self titled) that I’ve picked off some recent Human Resources Blogs:

***

1. And our future goes with it:

“Most recruiting systems I’ve seen screen out innovators. Any résumé that is unique, different or convention-defying gets surreptitiously put in the junk pile.”

2. Start by looking in the junk pile:

“The Innovation Economy requires that the talent that creates the most value for an organization must rise to the top.  Innovators are playing an increasing role in creating shareholder value – one might argue that they create the most shareholder value these days – and figuring out how to find and attract this very different breed of talent is one of the most critical initiatives you can launch within your organization.”

3. What part of “share holder value” are we having difficulty with?

“The most innovative people I have ever met don’t follow conventions in their experience or in their résumé.  Or, they get bored very quickly when they can’t innovate or are forced to focus on operations, and efficiency.  Most might look like (and even be) job hoppers”

4. Here is my favorite comment – I wish I could hug this person:

“I think it takes more than a résumé to screen an Innovator in or out. As blogs, blog posts, social networking, more powerful search tools, personal websites, the emergence of video on the web, talent platforms that offer CRM, etc. etc. etc. continue to become additional tools for an employer to consider in making a hiring decision, is the résumé still a currency for a candidate?”

***

We have an inventory and CAD model of every nut, rivet, and panel that goes on an airplane – why would we try to build anything without one?

So Please, let’s evolve out of the revolutionary times and develop a real community knowledge inventory.  It must be computer enabled and based on a taxonomy that everyone knows and understands.  It must be read, analyzed, sorted and vetted by social networks and communities of practice. It must integrate with  knowledge assets from anywhere in the world.   A self-perfecting algorithm must be developed for a predictive percentile search engine in a pull system that seeks, matches, and deploys the ‘secret sauce’ of success, specific to any application, anywhere, any time – and fast.

Advertising in the Age of Social Capitalism

The recipe for selling great products to great customers in the age of Social Media resides first in helping people find their highest talent and passion.

The great innovations of our time were created by people doing what they enjoyed most by using their talents to the highest potential.  Disney, Boeing, Apple, Mattel, and nearly every other ground breaking venture had the secret sauce of people doing what they were best at and most passionate about.

Advertising in the Age of Social Capitalism

Computer Enabled Society is in the midst of a struggle to reorganize itself outside of the construct of the traditional corporation. People seek to develop methods and systems that allow for the reallocation of social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to match a person’s natural talents and passions with those complementary to other people.

If marketers have the foresight and methods to “get ‘em while they’re young”, they certainly also have the foresight and methods to develop ‘em to their highest purchasing potential.  All they need to do is listen and support to the future trends in Social Capitalism.

Instead, mass marketing pays mass money for mass audience from which to draw mass revenues.  As a result, actual products are designed to be marketed and thrown away; not to be particularly useful, productive, or even healthy.  Such unnecessary innovation wastes human effort and natural resources while mass marketing of unnecessary innovation wastes the time and bandwidth of those for whom the product is irrelevant (yes, Spam).  Economies of scale will become liabilities of scale in an Social Capital driven Innovation Economy.

Few realize that advertising can become a highly useful component of the Innovation Economy.  In many professional societies, practitioners look forward to hearing from vendors, educators, and fellow practitioners for trends, news, and developments that can strengthen their community.  Bad products are rejected quickly and good ones are elevated quickly. This is how the great innovations are found. This is where the early adopters congregate. This is where brand loyalty is unyielding. This is where wealth is created.  This is efficiency that society wants and needs.

The Ingenesist Project starts the discussion by specifying the creation of a knowledge inventory in society.  This simple exercise enables communities of practice to form around a set of knowledge attributes.  Advertisers can quickly identify target markets and support the operating costs of these communities in exchange for the bandwidth of the members.   The community will look forward to learning about the advances in the field of their interest and ad copy will become far more useful and efficient to deliver in greater detail.

When communities of practice merge with other communities in the innovation process, the message of the advertiser can be carried far and clear as people share ideas and coordinate activity.  Feedback to the vender is highly qualified thereby creating a virtuous circle of innovation.  In the age of social media, highly targeted advertising is simply more efficient than “bending the herd” in a TV era mass market model.

Factors of Production for an Innovation Economy

Many years ago, economists in the midst of the industrial revolution identified three variables (productive inputs) for building industries; Land, Labor, and Capital.  The rate of output was related to how these inputs were allocated. If any of these factors of production were missing, the other two had little use.  The concept of Land, Labor, and Capital is still the foundation of much of today’s economic thought.

We know that in the knowledge economy, the location of knowledge work is highly mobile – so “Land” does not have the same significance for making things as it did 100-200 years ago.

What about “Labor“? Knowledge workers analyze situations, manage many variables, and create unique solutions. They do not really produce identical knowledge pieces like a machine operator or a production worker –so Labor also means something different than a century ago.

The term “Capital” refers to money that would be needed now to build future structures, buy machines and to pay wages. Today money buys access to information, education, and knowledge workers. So we see that many old economic principle may not be as applicable in the new economies.

The factors of production for the Innovation Economy are Intellectual Capital (also call Human Capital), Social Capital, and Creative Capital + entrepreneurs. (Reference: Jane Jacobs, Robert Putnam, Richard Florida)

Intellectual Capital Model suggests that concentrations of educated and motivated people attract investors to employ them and invest in the communities where they reside. This investment attracts other intelligent people who in turn attract more investment thereby creating a cycle of economic growth

The Social Capital Model suggests that people acting in communities can create better solutions, greater accountability, and more economic growth than management, governments, or bureaucracy can induce on their own. Examples of Social Capital include Civil Rights Movement, community watch organizations, Democratic Government, and recently, Social Networking.

The Creative Capital Model, suggests that engineers and scientists think more like artists and musicians than like production workers – their ideas come 24/7/365 – and that an environment of tolerance, diversity, and openness promotes creative output.

Silicon Mouse trap

Many people argue that Silicon Valley, in fact, was created and sustained by a perfect storm of Social Capital, Creative Capital, an Intellectual Capital + Entrepreneurs.  Other countries have tried to duplicate Silicon Valley but most have fallen short – if any of these factors of production are missing, the other two have limited utility for production of innovation. To demonstrate how these productive inputs might appear in an innovation economy, consider the following example:

Suppose that we take 5 mechanical engineers and lock them in a room with instructions to build a better mouse trap, they’ll emerge with a better shingle, a better spring, a better whacker, and a better trigger – but not necessarily a better mousetrap.  Suppose that we now put a dog catcher, an engineer, a plastics manufacturer, an artist, and the mother of 4 rowdy children together with the same task. We can be quite certain that innovation will occur. They may actually come up with an excellent mouse trap.

The Innovation Economy

Innovation Economics will bring the factors of production together in diverse combination rather than similar combination.  In an Innovation Economy, the “secret sauce” for the production of innovation becomes far more valuable than any single innovation itself.  The secret sauce provides a monopoly on dynamic repeatability rather than a static device.

As such, technologies can be open sourced and innovation crowd sourced across a much wider domain of possible user applications.  Such conditions will change the type of innovations that are favored to reflect the broad and sweeping social priorities rather than innovations that are easy to patent, protect, and monopolize.

Social Enterprise; Innovation Clusters

Innovation clusters are all the rage in regional economic development circles.  Actually, they are “industrial clusters” because several companies in similar industries collocate in the same geographical area.  The industrial cluster then attracts supporting industry and often causes the migration of educated and motivated people to the prospect of jobs.  I suspect the ‘innovation’ moniker comes from the notion that newer industries locate near centers of venture capital, like planets forming from the dust of the cosmos.

There are, however, a few drawbacks to industry clusters; they are vulnerable to stagnation, silos, and external shocks.  As companies become organized and technologies mature, patents and trade secrets take hold.  As they ‘go public’, SEC regulation effectively places a gag order on everyone and sharing slows while stagnation sets in. Soon after, dozens of nimble companies consolidate into a single giant to achieve economies of scale.  Finally, silos form under the weight of multiple layers of management.  Then, something somewhere happens to shock the cluster; the end of the cold war leveled the So Cal aerospace cluster. 9/11 busted the Seattle Aerospace cluster.  The dot.com bomb stunted Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Route 128.  Hurricanes hit the petroleum cluster, stem cell and genetic engineering legislation stalled biotechnology, and corruption continues to shock financial institutions.   At the end of the cycle, companies divest, people defect and a new planet starts to form someplace else.

While occasional cleansing, in a Schumpeterian sense, is good for industries, the extreme volatility takes a horrendous toll on that invisible turbine of the economic engine – social fabric.  Families, friendships, professional networks are strained or collapse and those who dedicate their life to a career path – the pure innovator themselves – can be left marginalized by obsolescence.

The Calculus of Innovation Economics does not oppose industrial clusters; however, it does favor something called “technology clusters” in a business structure called the “tangential innovation” market.  For example; composite materials technology is very useful in many applications like aircraft, medical devices, transportation, recreation, and even musical instruments.   The airplane company has no intention of building cellos and the automobile company has no intention of building snow boards.  As non-competing industries, they can readily share technology and people.  The system is naturally diversified and inoculated against stagnation, shocks and silos; if one industry encounters hardship, people and capacity can shift easily to another industry preserving knowledge and expanding social networking benefit while the damaged industry heals or dies off.  Corporations may not like this idea, but social networks should.

The science of Innovation Economics goes a step further by modeling the business structure of tangential innovation markets as an integrated financial system.  Suppose and Originator Company has a promising new composite technology idea but is unable to meet the ROI requirements of their stockholders. Today, such innovation would be shelved.  In an innovation economy, tangential markets are factored into the business case.  The Percentile Search Engine can determine what other industries would be most worthy borrowers of your technology, if developed.  The Innovation Bank can estimate the return on investment that can be expected through the tangential market as if it were another customer.  The additional revenue projection would allow the originator to meet the ROI requirement prior to committing development funds.  Intellectual Property can be managed with contracts enforced through social network vetting.  The originator can hold an option to see further development conducted by tangential users effectively multiplying their R&D reach and further adding to the expected return.

Then something magical will happen. At some point, the value of the tangential innovation market would exceed the value of the origination market.  The originator will begin to specialize in pure innovation as a primary product and airplane applications as the secondary product.  As all industries in the technology cluster begin sharing technology among each other, R&D costs and risks are effectively spread across industries. As risk is diversified away, the cost of venture capital approaches single digit rates.

Then, another magical thing will happen. As the mixing of people and ideas accelerates, the definition of corporate boundaries will become more fluid.  Ownership will exist in the form of contracts among entrepreneurs now defined by social networks, options, and derivatives in a diverse innovation enterprise.

The knowledge inventory will house the assets rather than office cubicles.  The ‘secret sauce’ of knowledge asset allocation becomes more tangible, safer, flexible, and liquid than any patent could ever be.  Innovation will always be proportional to the rate of change of knowledge that the more diverse assets yields. The Percentile Search Engine will match surplus “secret sauce” to deficits of “secret sauce” much better than multiple layers of management in the past. The Innovation Bank will account for all transactions, obligations, and participation and distribute dividends (rather than hourly wages) to the owners of knowledge assets.  The system will regulate itself through social vetting rather than supporting a cumbersome HR department.

New ideas will get developed in the technology cluster where they would never have been able to meet ROI in the industrial cluster.  The innovation economy induces a multiplier effect on innovation by reducing risk, eliminating barriers to sharing ideas, and lowering the cost of capital.

While the boom bust cycle of Industrial Clusters has brought us a great distance in economic development, technology clusters in an Innovation Economy supported by social networks may turn out to be vastly more efficient at economic growth without the vulnerabilities of industry clusters.

Intellectual Property in the Innovation Economy

Today there is a big scare that bad people will run off with your intellectual property and make a ton of money with it. Another problem is that the Patent system is so slow and so expensive that the vast majority of innovators simply do not have access to patent protection – many people just keep their ideas secret. This happens in corporations where your ideas are used to advance the careers other people. Often the dominant strategy is to not innovate or keep your ideas secret.

The trend toward open sourcing and crowd sourcing is a real option in the Innovation Economy where Social Network are self regulating. In fact, these articles reference Wikipedia – a community source of definitions.

In practice, If I do dirty deals of Craig’s List, for example; people know where I live….or I get flagged. EBay, for example, produces relatively little to earn their 30B market cap except protect their social accountability system – the EBay feedback mechanism rewards high integrity and punished low integrity. The hallmark of the Web 2.0 is the user generated content as well as the user generated vetting of the content.

This is significant. The efficiency of any market is directly related to the efficiency of the vetting mechanism by rewarding high integrity and punishing low integrity; the FAA vets the airline industry, checks and balances vets democratic government, and the FICO score vets the consumer credit markets. Likewise, things go horribly wrong when the vetting mechanism fails; the accounting profession after Enron, and the sub prime mortgage crisis after loose lending practices, etc. The battlefields of business are littered with similar examples.

In an Innovation Economy, the secret sauce for the production of innovation is far more valuable than any single innovation itself.  The secret sauce provides a monopoly on dynamic repeatability rather than some static device. As such, patents can be open-sourced and innovation crowd sourced across a much wider domain of user applications.  Such conditions will change the type of innovations that are favored to reflect the broad and sweeping social priorities rather than innovations that are easy to patent, protect, and monopolize – and fear for one’s IP being stolen.    Bad people cannot steal your intellectual capital, your social capital, or your creative capital – it is yours, you own it and you have the social network to prove it.

Ownership is the key ingredient of entrepreneurship – everyone owns the innovation economy.

In fact, the objective of innovation economics is for people to take your ideas and make money with them – then give you some of it. Your income arises from collecting royalty payments on your ideas and participation of many ventures. If someone does not play fair, their access to intellectual property and the Percentile Search Engine can be curtailed just like access to credit can be curtailed in modern finance. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to play fair; you may cheat, but only once.

Social Networks are largely self-regulating; no government, Industry, or management is needed. This is efficiency, scaleability, and multiplicity all in one!

The Percentile Search Engine

The Percentile Search Engine is a way of using a computer to make predictions about all types of combinations of knowledge Assets.

Conceptually, the percentile search engine is where all of the equations that we use to analyze financial assets are now applied to knowledge assets. The main characteristic is that the Percentile Search Engine returns probabilities – that is, what’s the probability of success for any number of scenarios.

For example; an entrepreneur may want to know if her team has enough knowledge to execute a business plan. Maybe the team has too much knowledge and they should try something more valuable. Maybe the team does not have enough knowledge and they should find someone else, take training, or try something simpler. The Percentile Search Engine can look into the community and identify the supply and demand of a knowledge asset. If it is unavailable or too expensive, the Percentile Search Engine will even tell them what training they need to increase their probability of success.

The entrepreneur may also want to determine what competitors have a dangerously high probability of competing with her new business. The Search Engine will allow competitors to scan each other’s knowledge inventory to determine how long it would take for their secret sauce copied. They can take then choose to take evasive action, compete, or cooperate. If a key person retires, the entrepreneur would simulate the knowledge that is lost and reassign people strategically. All of these scenarios can be examines prior to spending money. They can be made during the project cycle, or after the project is completed. Lessons learned can be used to adjust the algorithm perfecting it over time.

While companies such as Disney and Boeing both use Engineers, each would have proprietary combinations of knowledge that represents their “secret sauce” of success. These recipes can be adjusted and improved to reflect the wisdom of an organization.

Over time, these algorithms will far more valuable then the Patents and Trade Secrets created by them – this will allow technologies to be open sourced much more profitably and shared across more industries.

Literally thousands of new business plans will emerge from this important new paradigm. Knowledge will become tangible outside of the organizational construct of the corporation. Knowledge combinations will become the new corporate structure. The rate of change of knowledge with respect to time is the key metric and fundamental building block of the innovation economy.

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