Four Sources For Trends And Ideas

Logic + Emotion

Digitas(DTAS ) creative director David Armano develops graphics to illustrate new concepts for marketing, brands, and experience design. Here he traces bloggers' spheres of influence with overlapping community clusters illustrating social networks and their interactions.


Bloggers at each level command a "sphere of influence." The higher the "level," the more people are exposed to a blogger's influence. The degree of influence is mainly related to the quantity (and quality) of the blogs and sites that link back to them. And...a blogger who is well known before they even start a blog has a better chance of reaching the top levels of influence vs. one starting from scratch. It does represent a "human pyramid." As much as the social media network acts as a great equalizer, you can only influence as many people as you have access to.

Jim Carroll

Carroll is a futurist and trend-spotter. His blog traces his travels about the country as he talks to innovators. Here's a look at what building a sand castle teaches us about innovation.


Hierarchy has disappeared: In most cases, there isn't a boss, a reporting structure, or anything else that can cause organizational sclerosis. People just pitch in and do what needs to be done. The lack of a hierarchy is implicit to most successful teams. Creativity is implicit: Anyone can build a sand castle. There are no rules or preconceived notions, other than some sand and water. The same thinking should drive corporate innovation efforts.... Experience doesn't cloud insight: Parents listen to kids. Kids get bored and move on to another rampart and do something awesome. The key to sand-castle building is the combined insight of several different generations.

Ted Blog

It sees itself as host to the ideas that matter in technology, entertainment, and design (TED), and is tied to the annual TED conference. One of the blog's best features is the TEDTalks videocasts.


Gearheads around the world are eagerly awaiting the July 20 arrival of a new electric sports car from a startup by the name of Tesla Motors.... When you think about a sports car as a device focused on pure driving enjoyment rather than as A-to-B transportation, going electric makes a lot of sense.... If all you're going to do is carve up a twisty canyon road on a Sunday morning and drive a loop back home, there's no need to worry about where your next jolt of juice will come from. Second, there's the inherent nature of electric motors, which develop maximum torque at zero rpm.... A torquey electric motor will give you neck-snapping acceleration and a scintillating oomph in the small of your back.

Innovation Tools

This site covers innovation research, best practices, strategies, management, and how businesses use blogs for idea creation and collaboration.


In their new book, Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, authors William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre offer some fascinating perspectives and case histories on the topic of open-source innovation. What is open-source innovation? Its central idea is that companies will succeed at innovation in the 21st century by attracting ideas from the brightest minds anywhere, not just within the organization's four walls. Open-source software, where thousands of programmers collaborate to write software that is arguably better than any one company could have developed on its own, is a great example of it in action. The most notable example of this, of course, is the Linux (RHAT ) operating system.

By Jessi Hempel

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.