One of the ideas that I really liked in Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith is that to be successful on the web, you need to ‘change the game’ (my full review of the book is here). The idea here is that you need to create an entirely new category for whatever it is that you’re doing. This is essentially business model innovation.
This got me thinking about what John and I are trying to do with this blog. Our main purpose is to get our ideas to spread by writing about them in a way that we hope is useful to people that are actually managing the innovation process. On Friday, we were talking a bit about one of the most popular posts that we’ve had so far – John’s first post on the three horizons model. He wrote that back in May, but ever since then the post has been hovering near the top 10 most viewed pages on the blog. It is one of the pages that is found quite frequently by google, and that seems to be what keeps people coming to see that page. As we were talking about it, we got to thinking that it must be showing up pretty high on the search results to keep driving so much traffic. So we searched for ‘three horizons model’, and sure enough, there’s John’s post on the first page of results.
That in turn got me curious about the aggregate, filter & connect model that I’ve been slowly working out here on the blog. It’s an idea that seems to have some resonance when I explain, so I was wondering where ‘aggregate filter connect’ shows up on google. That post is actually the first result, which means that I have done the first step in the Trust Agents scheme – I’ve staked out an area that no one else is working in, which is great.
But of course, the key to innovation is getting the idea to spread, which is another matter. But I’m working on that! I’ve discussed the idea here on the blog, and in public lectures. A few other people are starting to talk about it as well – we’ll see how it goes.
In thinking about all of this, I had an insight over the weekend. Making your own game as Brogan and Smith recommend is actually the best solution to Search Engine Optimisation. While John and I were talking, he said “it would be great if we could get the blog to show up when people search for ‘innovation strategy’”. It would be, but if we spent all our time working on that, we wouldn’t really be creating anything new. I think we’re much better off making our own game – creating a space that we know more about than anyone else does, owning it, and then getting the idea to spread. That’s what all innovators do, whether they are creating products, services, new ways of doing things, or new ideas. If you get too hung up on things like SEO, that is another example of paying too much attention to tools, and not enough to process.
The best method of Search Engine Optimisation then is to create your own category. Now is probably a good time to get started on that…
(picture from flickr/Danard Vincente – creative commons licensed)