Social Media Increases Innovation Absorption. Then What ?
It’s not surprising, and which we have all come to accept, is that one capability of every organization / organism is to be at equilibrium with it’s environment and with that comes the assumption the environment is pushing against the organization / organism. Listening then, it can be said, works in a similar fashion – listening to consumers, listening for opportunities, listening with curiosity. With that, and constantly in the news is the idea of the consumer being at the heart of all that is innovative. But is it ?
At odds with this, is the very well known statement by Alan Kay, the creator of the Xerox ALTO computer system, the precursor to every modern computer GUI ( Graphical User Interface ) and WYSIWYG ( What You See Is What You Get ) desktop publishing and interactive computer system which you are exposed to on a daily basis. Alan famously said ” The best way to predict the future is to invent it. ” in 1971 which was co-opted and attributed to Steve Jobs but which came from the 1971 Nobel Prize in Physics winner Dennis Gabor who invented and developed the holographic method, holography and the 1st ever produced holograms in 1948. Gabor said in 1963, “The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.” and where this gets more interesting is how in the world of innovation and listening to outside influences can in fact assist.
In the very detailed work Use of Social Media in Inbound Open Innovation: Building Capabilities for Absorptive Capacity we see not only four capabilities for absorptive capacity uncovered: connectedness, socialization tactics, cross-functionality and receptivity but we also see a focus on the capabilities of receptivity that the most innovative firms are able to achieve. What’s important to note, is that innovation is not iteration rather, as accepted by some and refuted by others, the capability to effect radical change in an existing environment through advanced technological, design and finance capabilities. No where better does Ooms, Bell and Kok illustrate this than in showing purposefully developing absorptive capacity ( via social media or other aspects of a firm, person, or organizations interest and investment in exploring new knowledge domains, then knowledge
depth is associated with absorptive capacity emerging as a by-product of investments in R&D. Simply those who are more able to pursue an exploration strategy of developing radical new products or obtain a more satisfactory balance between exploration and exploitation and thus arrival at goals and destinations not though of before.