Social origin of good ideas

Posted by on Nov 7, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Pic c/o Knowledge news

Nice piece that Gareth has pointed out to us from the Clay archives on how many innovative ideas seem to be bridging responses to "social holes…"

"People focus on activities inside their own group,
which creates holes in the information flow of information across
structural holes. People with contacts in separate groups broker the
flow of information across structural holes. Brokerage is social
capital in that brokers have a competitive advantage in creating value
with projects that integrate otherwise separate ways of thinking or

Much of the paper is focused on structural holes in business
settings, arguing that brokers create much of the value we associate
with innovation

Another example of how together we're smarter even than the smartest one amongst us…


  1. Ryan Lanham
    November 7, 2008

    Trouble is, structural holes don't really exist. They are a metaphor. There is not "structure" and we cannot uniformly identify its "holes." Nonsense. Nice metaphors. Sensemaking really. Nothing more.

  2. Mark
    November 7, 2008

    Thanks, Ryan, for your comment. Agree it's a metaphorical explanation. I too struggle with information theory's accounts but it's the social aspect of the metaphor that I found interesting.