March 08, 2007

Groupthink as bad amongst bloggers as the mainstream?

Bryan Appleyard from the Times has got me thinking about innovation's very own groupthink (yes, it must be possible ;-). His point was about the danger to democracy posed by career politicians, that by having that career as the number one goal the grassroots get forgotten about.

Then it got me thinking about career innovators, or career bloggers. Does this group suffer equally from groupthink on how 'changed' the world is? Is this why blogging gets such a bad name, because in order to stand out from the echo chamber you have to express some gauche or radical ideas to stand out from the crowd (see Guido Fawkes as one UK political example. He's hardly conservative in his views...)

I think Bryan's right when he says that there is still a need for a decision-maker, someone who has accrued a degree of wisdom before the rush of information hits the aggregators, someone who is able to take a position and understand the stakes both before and after the info flux. Example: if you put up a petition against road taxing then of course 1.5 million people are going sign up. The wise individual would have thought that one through before thinking that it would be necessary to host e-petitions on the Number 10 site.

We need to teach the people about the net before they use the net. Likewise, the Government or state needn't necessarily host Web 2.0 stuff to be seen to engage with its citizens. A lot more might be gained simply from listening to them wherever they might already be found -  on their own blogs, on YouTube, on forums elsewhere.

This, to me, is where the state sometimes falls down. We don't always need to blog ourselves to let the bloggers know we're listening. And sometimes hosting a blog or e-petition only helps us to do what we must learn not to: ignore the people. Well, speed cameras ain't going to be scrapped any time soon.

Update: The RSA have posted audio from this first part and the second part of the conference.


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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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