I believe the best way to get smarter and acquire new knowledge on innovation is through articles and blog posts rather than reading books. It is just my experience that it works better both in terms of value and time spent.
Let’s say you want to learn about open innovation. I would advice you to follow these five steps in order to understand what open innovation is and decide whether it is relevant for your situation.
- Sign-up for Twitter and get TweetDeck which is an application that helps you stay in touch with what is happening right now. Use the search function and enter the keywords you want to follow – in this case open innovation and perhaps also words such as crowd-sourcing or co-creation. This will give you plenty of leads on blog posts, articles and other insights worth reading.
- Your LinkedIn profile is an important part of your digital footprint. Besides telling others who you are, you can also join groups such as my own group 15inno by Stefan Lindegaard. Unfortunately, some recent changes by LinkedIn bring more spam to the groups making them less attractive, but you might still find some value. You can also use the search tool to identify people working on issues relevant to your situation.
- Check out conferences and events on open innovation. The next one is CoDev 2011. You can attend and get insights through (hopefully) good presentations, but more importantly you can network and connect with the open innovation community. You can also check the speakers and bloggers of these conferences in order to identity the key influencers in the open innovation community. Don’t be afraid to contact them directly.
- Having done some research, you have now identified bloggers you want to follow. Most bloggers are also active on Twitter. Go back to TweetDeck and setup a list in which you can follow these bloggers. Now you follow their tweets and you will catch most of their blog posts here. You can of course also setup a RSS feed.
- This post is actually a sidetrack from a discussion on whether business people still have the time and need for reading books. Too many books are unfortunately not worth the read. Many books seem to be care more about the ego of an author or the wallet of a publisher rather than focusing on the needs of the reader.
Books – the good ones – still have a role to play, but this is not where you should start. Do the other things first and then read the books of authors that you believe can deliver value for the time you plan to spend reading and thinking about it.
Let me hear your comments on this. Perhaps you can also share how your tips on getting smarter and acquiring new knowledge and insights.