Sinan Aral, expert on Social Contagion, describes our economy as a network in which ideas spread and innovations diffuse. Our decisions are not made alone, but are shaped by social influence and the groups we surround ourselves with, which may help us be more innovative.Amplify’d from timkastelle.org [27Jan11]
Here are some of the key ideas that arise from the talk:
- The economy is a network: in order to understand how innovations diffuse, and how ideas spread, we have to think about the economy as a network. We don’t make decisions in a vacuum – decisions are a social action (see the collected work of Mark Earls on this topic).
- Your network is also important for idea generation: Jorge Barba recently asked whether innovation is primarily an individual or a group activity. It’s a group effort – just as decisions are social actions, so is idea generation.
- If your friends are making you fat, are they also making you innovative?: this is the key issue – if idea generation is a social act, and you want to be more innovative, then you need to spend more time with people and groups that are more innovative.