Innovation Leading Indicators? The Network

As some of you know, I am passionate about networking, leading indicators and innovation from new combinations of existing things. I’ve been wondering how networks can be leading indicators for innovation!  Sarah Beaulieu reminded me about LinkedIn’s Maps, so I took a look at mine:

I won’t go into detail, but it’s interesting to see the clusters of my clients, the communities I “belong” to (geographic, education, career, faith, etc.) and the intersections (or not) between them.  In some cases, I’m the key connector, in others I’m one of a few.

How is this a leading indicator? I see a few connections between a manufacturing/prototyping client and regional biomedical device companies.  Could this be a leading indicator of increasing medical device manufacturing in the region? If I look further, I can see what if the companies are focused on orthopedics, pediatrics, cardiology, etc. and start watching for more in-depth developments.  The Venture Capitalist in me finds this very interesting.

What if we look at the changes in my map over time: new connections between existing people in my network through me or without me; increased connection density between different “communities”; outliers – one-off connections that develop?

I’m going to regularly update my map and see how it grows.   Many of you are in it!  Thank you! So take this challenge with me:

  • Check out your own map and share what you see and learn with us; and
  • See what you can do to increase the connections you have in “my” network – who you can reach out to do learn something new, who you can connect to each other and who you could innovate something with.

Let us know! Please share – and have fun – I know you will!

image credit: thepoliticalcarnival.net

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Why am I a VC?Deb, founder of Mills-Scofield LLC, is an innovator, entrepreneur and non-traditional strategist with 20 years experience in industries ranging from the Internet to Manufacturing with multinationals to start ups. She is also a partner at Glengary LLC, a Venture Capital Firm.

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