Three Blogs I Love

I’ve spent the past couple of days reading an astonishing number of excellent blog posts. I share nearly all of them on my twitter feed, so if you want a compilation of those, check that out. Today I thought I’d share three different blogs which always seem to have great content.

First up is Innovate on Purpose by Jeffrey Phillips. Phillips writes for managers and others that are involved in the innovation process. The posts here are fairly concise, unadorned, and nearly always exactly correct. I haven’t run across any other innovation blog that I find myself agreeing with so consistently. Here is a clip from a recent post called Just Do Something:

There’s always something you can do, and starting now is much better than starting when you finally get the OK. In many firms, the OK may never happen. Create a small innovation capability and generate ideas about the future, new product and service ideas, and help other teams generate ideas. You’ll attract others who have similar needs and interests and gain incredible credibility. Eventually you’ll be the go-to person for innovation. Don’t laugh, I’ve been in at least two organizations where the head of innovation was simply the person who started doing innovation and was eventually recognized as the expert.

If you’ve been reading our blog regularly, I’m sure you can see the parallels between that message and some of the things that John and I are saying consistently. Phillips is also a regular contributor to Blogging Innovation, another outstanding innovation resource.

Next up is Network Weaving, written by June Holley, Valdis Krebs and Jack Ricchiuto. This is one of my favourite network analysis blogs. They’ve each been doing organisational network analysis for many years, and their experience and depth of knowledge comes through each post. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post by Ricchiuto called The 4 Laws of Networks:

Innovation = learning x diverse connections
I disagree with the argument that innovation is the child of desperation. I wish it was so, because if it was, we would be on a planet devoid of incredible amounts of preventable child deaths, failed economies, and the rest of what would otherwise be tragedies that could be prevented by innovations of all kinds. The pragmatic reality is that innovation happens at the intersection of learning and cultivating diverse connections. When you have diverse connections in a network, learning almost cannot not happen. Networks literally become learning disabled if the connections become too homophilous and without learning, no innovation is possible.

One of the subtle points of this post is that all four laws involve multiplication – not addition. It is an excellent example of the increasing returns that are inherent within networks. All of the posts on Network Weaving are like this – they make good points on the surface, and there are also insights lying underneath as well.

The last blog I’d like to highlight is This Week in Review by Mark Coddington. Coddington started his weekly review of news relating to the current state of journalism on his own site, but it was recently picked up by The Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. There are a couple of things that I love about Coddington’s blog. The first is that it is a tremendous resource. Personally, I’m interested in what’s going on in journalism, particularly from a business model standpoint. However, because it isn’t my core area of interest, I don’t have time to read everything on the topic. It is Coddington’s core area of interest, and he does an outstanding job aggregating information, filtering it down the key stories each week, and connecting up all the ideas into a coherent narrative. Here’s an example from this week’s post, discussing a great post by Jay Rosen:

Innocence, objectivity and reality in journalism: Jay Rosen kicked off some conversation in another corner of the future-of-journalism discussion this week, bringing his influential PressThink blog out of a 10-month hiatus with a post on a theme he’s been pushing hard on Twitter over the past year: Political journalists’ efforts to appear innocent in their reporting at the expense of the truth.

Rosen seizes on a line in a lengthy Times Tea Party feature on “a narrative of impending tyranny” and wonders why the Times wouldn’t tell us whether that narrative was grounded in reality. Journalistic behavior like this, Rosen says, is grounded in the desire to appear innocent, “meaning a determination not to be implicated, enlisted, or seen by the public as involved.” That drive for innocence leads savviness to supplant reality in political journalism, Rosen said.

The argument’s been made before, by Rosen and others such as James Fallows, and Joey Baker sums it up well in a post building off of Rosen’s. But Rosen’s post drew a bit of criticism — in his comments, from the left (Mother Jones), from the libertarian right (Reason), and from tech blogger Stephen Baker. The general strain running through these responses was the idea that the Times’ readers are smart enough to determine the veracity of the claims being made in the article. (Rosen calls that a dodge.) The whole discussion is a fresh, thoughtful iteration of the long-running debate over objectivity in news coverage.

That’s the other reason that I love his Reviews – they are a fantastic example of creating value through aggregating, filtering and connecting. If you click through to all the links from just that story, you have about a half hour of rally interesting reading to do. But you get a pretty good feel for what’s happening from Coddington’s summary. That’s not mere aggregation, nor is it simply curation. To create value in this way you need all three parts – aggregating, filtering and connecting.

So those are three of my key resources. I hope you check them out yourself!

Student and teacher of innovation - University of Queensland Business School - links to academic papers, twitter, and so on can be found here.

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