Voice of Innovation: What does it mean?

I haven’t had this much fun on this blog in a long time. There are loads of comments and tweets, criticizing, nominating, and wrestling with the very concept of a voice of innovation in social media, a field that’s newer, by most accounts, than the flat-screened computer monitor I’m staring at as I type.

One common complaint: We should pick someone new—and not a celeb with a Twitter following large enough to fill Madison Square Garden, a roster of blue-chip clients and a seven-figure book deal. I hear you. But I should add that if you go to a New Year’s party tonight and say Chris Brogan or Seth Godin, the first response from lots of people (including BusinessWeek readers)will be: Who? These people are celebs in niches. Looking at it from a New York perspective, they may be known in Midtown and Chelsea, but far less familiar on Wall Street (and forget about Jersey). We have a broad readership.

The more pertinent question to me is “innovation.” Lots of people, it seems, are making money by evangelizing concepts that have become buzz words: transparency, conversation, user experience, Web 2.0, etc. And as Adam Kmiec notes they’re liable to refer to themselves as “thought leaders.” These thought leaders may be imparting valuable lessons, but are they innovative?

So, my question: Who is coming up with new and different ideas?

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