Yeah baby: where’s the innovation?

Supernova 2007 last part of day 1: Samuel Wantman (Wikipedia), Maria Daniels (WGBH Boston), Susan Tenby (TechSoup), Howard Greenstein (Obama: one million strong) and Rolando Brown (Grow Hiphop).

The introduction starts with Apachean American clip in their own language and showing some rocks in the States and symbolic meanings these have to native Americans. The brochure writes: It’s out there: and it’s happening in the most unusual places. Participate in a creative lightning round with a surprising group of people – with roots in hip hop, non-profit, politics, etc.- who happened upon marketing success by building communities, one relationship at a time.

A clip for the Personal Democracy event is shown of Farouk Agregbe who started the one million strong group in Facebook to support him. He was a supporter of Obama and one day in his car he wanted to help him. He went to Facebook and Myspace. Most of his fellow students were on Facebook and not on Myspace. And he wanted to become the first official Obama group in Facebook. He wanted it to be very special. So he wanted to use numbers as the point: One Million Strong. It started as a group, where he got thousands of emails where people were giving their ideas that he should try. Put clips on Youtube etc. were ideas that people brought to him. He also raised a lot of money. Howard got him live into the conference by phone talking to the audience.

He told us that the activity went down online, because of the summer season and that the majority of students (most active in Facebook in general) were not at campus. He informed us a lot about all the details and the information available. They had to find their own way of how to contact the members.

Next is Rolando Brown of the Grow Hip Hop platform. They want to show and co-ordinate the entire hiphop subculture worldwide. They started with emails and then phones. They like WooFoo, because this company was also into Wutang klan etc, and use more techniques / OS technology that they related to because their subculture group used it as well. What was important is the tools that these niche groups are using and why they chose to use these. The clip with Orlando will be placed online at the Supernova site where you can react to him. Orlando wants to talk to you and get your point of view, so give him a hand. Especially if you are into hiphop.

Now the stage is for Susan of Techsoup. She concentrated on bringing the non-profits to Secondlife. Interesting as I consider the article of last week in Dutch press, saying that there was this huge hype over Secondlife, the next thing to do, and the figures demonstrated that only 17ooo people in Holland were in fact on Secondlife. Let’s hope they were all active users, still not impressive for such a big hype.

Anyway how did she get the rumor spread at Secondlife? She would not have succeeded if she would have been a single avatar. ( I understand now you have to really be involved in web, otherwise you get lost). She could go to Secondlife by tagging things to their company, as the biggest organization to help non-profit companies and institutions. Other things they did there?

Hold meetings for ex AA NA, Transgender Resource etc within Secondlife. Also have schizophrenia simulators, to check if you are schizo or not. (Would you like to do that test? I would almost say, if you are taking different identities in virtual realities, you might have a sound business case here πŸ˜‰

Funny, but Susan goes online in Secondlife as her alterego Glitteractica Cookie and she asks her friend if he can top her. I have no clue what this instruction means, but it got my phantasy going. She is being received in the Preferred Family Healthcare building. It just always makes me sick to turn around in these virtual realities. Must be something with my balance. I really do prefer to meet people in Firstlife. They do not move as spastic and have a friendlier face. But it is nice to see how these experiments open up new horizons to some people.

Back to innovation. What is being inventive? What it comes down to is that in fact most innovation comes from the users. Mostly. The users started this campaign for Obama and made the Hiphop culture come together online. The users are also the ones who came with creative ideas how to promote non-profit companies in Secondlife. And now Samuel, a voluntary at Wikipedia, is talking about that they are in the worldwide top 10 of sites and have rather small marketing budgets and a relatively small staff. But they grew because of volunteers and all the people that created the content at Wikipedia. So innovation, baby, comes from you. They user. Do not look at the big companies. You can wait forever.

Samuel states that innovation takes small steps. At Wikipedia the innovation goes step by step. Would this mean that once a new idea is launched it might be groundbreaking, but then it will not develop so much anymore? The big steps come from completely new ideas and initiatives and that everything that is already established will not develop anymore? (I notice that this session makes me question a lot).

A point that is made, is that now if you look at Google the Wikipedia sites always have a high score. And then often referrals to this Wiki entry also appear high on the search results. This can be very annoying, as often this is not the information you were looking for. You want more independent and more diverse results.

Let’s say that out of need innovation gets born. After destruction comes creation. People can be very powerful with the tools that are available nowadays. They can even compete, or on a smaller scale attack, big companies like IBM and MS. The web offers enormous possibilities to become powerful. It is not so much about budget or who knows who. As a one-pitter you can make a difference and be heard. They will always find new ways how to use existing things and so surprise.

Everything these innovators do is always completely open. Quite a contrast with the previous session where big companies said that they could not be open.


2 Responses to “Yeah baby: where’s the innovation?”

  1. susantenby Says:

    Thanks for the nice coverage! For those who want to know about our group, we can be found inworld by searching TechSoup or nonprofit commons. You can also see our group blog and wiki at

    For the record, the “top me” was a typo (I was nervous, hey, big audience). I meant TP me (teleport me). And the schizophenia simulator is an awareness building campaign, not a schizo checker, but the rest is vaguely true.

    Come and find us in-world!

    -Glitteractica Cookie

  2. virginbrain Says:

    Hey Susan,
    I think you did fine. You introduced me to a world that is not my second skin. So in fact I learned a lot from you. I am also highly interested in the charity experience you have. Please check our project and you will understand me better.

    And about the typo, it was just funny, people need to have some relaxation when reading all these blogs. You made me smile, for sure πŸ˜‰

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