If you want to stay on the cutting edge of innovation insight and techniques, then these are the blogs and experts you need to follow in 2015
2014 has been an excellent year for the spreading of insights around what makes innovation and creativity around the workplace. The proliferation of blogs, LinkedIn groups, podcasts and twitter feeds has continued at pace. But for every real piece of valuable information, there have been 100 useless discussions which add value to nobody.
So to help you focus on who you should be listening to and following in 2015, I decided to research which innovation experts and blogs are worth your valuable time.
But instead of just a list of popular or well-established blogs, I wanted to be a bit more scientific in determining who has actually been the most influential in the past year. To do this, I pulled together a shortlist of the 50+ most popular blogs on business, creativity and innovation, and analysed their sites on the following criteria:
- Domain authority: using tools like the Moz Open site explorer, determine how many other sites reference or cite these blogs (a bit like how Google works)
- Social authority: if they have a twitter profile, how intensely people interact with their content, using Moz Followerwonk
- Virality: Have any of their articles resonated with readers so much that they were shared widely
- Specific examples of excellent content: Did these blogs release anything so good it deserves a specific mention
So without further ado, find below the ranking of the 25 most influential innovation blogs and experts for 2014, along with links to the blogs in the headline and links to their twitter feed to follow them.
Bonus: I’ve programmed a special Free Twitter List containing all of the experts listed here. You can follow them all at once using this list to save you a couple of minutes. Get it sent to your email address for free by clicking here
25 – Innovation Insights by WIRED
I was very surprised how low down the list the innovation blog driven by WIRED came. While its domain authority is high (as you’d expect from a WIRED site), it appears as though nobody is reading the articles here. Each page shows the number of views an article has had and it’s common for articles to have less than 100 views and no social shares at all. This could be due to the fact that a lot of the articles are posted by authors to multiple blogs like this. However, every now and then you can find a gem of an article, so worth looking at once a month or so.
24 – Innovation in Practice by Drew Boyd
Focused around the “Inside the Box” methodology for improving creativity in teams and organisations, this blog shows videos and updates from Drew Boyd, as well as some helpful resources around innovation.
23 – Leapfrogging by Soren Kaplan
Soren is a well-established expert in the innovation community, and often provides new insights to his Leapfrogging methodology in his blog. He often cites case studies around specific trends and things to watch out for to bring concrete examples and data to the often vague world of innovation discussion.
22 – Forth Innovation by Gijs Van Wulfen
Considering Van Wulfen’s status as an innovation influencer on LinkedIn, perhaps it’s strange to see him outside the Top 20 influencers. However, a large proportion of his updates all relate back to his book around the Forth Innovation method. His website is definitely worth an afternoon read, but in order to rise up the ranks of this list next year, Van Wulfen will need to produce more current content and insight.
The reason it’s important to look across a range of innovation bloggers and experts is that there are actually differences in advice out there. A great example of this is Baumgartner who has long been willing to question the established assumptions around what actually makes innovation at companies work, such as his development of Anticonventional Thinking as an alternative to brainstorming. His site also has a number of free resources to download and is well worth a look.
20 – Idea Champions by Mitch Ditkoff
This blog finds a nice half-way point between long, content-rich insight articles and short, bite-sized info snippets. Out of all of the blogs on this list, it is also one of the most frequently updated. While a lot of the short-form articles link out to some of Ditkoff’s businesses, whether they be an app or coaching services, the long-form articles are well worth a read.
19 – Edit Innovation by Matthew May
While Edit Innovation’s blog may not post articles are frequently as some other blogs, those which it does publish are often of very high quality. Often, these articles are interviews with other thought leaders from around the business world, which shows May’s open-mindedness towards various ways for helping improve innovation capabilities. A blog to check on a monthly basis.
A long-standing mainstay of the innovation community and author of 4 books, Shapiro’s blog often has insightful articles on making yourself a better innovator. They range from ways to engage better with customers to understanding yourself in an innovation context.
17 – Destination Innovation by Paul Sloane
While it’s not the prettiest blog out there, Paul Sloane’s higher than average social authority help propel him up the list. Look for the Recent Posts list in the bottom left to get to his latest articles. Their quality show why he has such a dedicated following.
16 – Lateral Action by Mark McGuiness
Mark McGuiness is a specialist in helping creative people get the most out of their work. His focus is on people who work in the creative industries, such as designer, writers and people in advertising, but a lot of his insights can help anyone generate more ideas in whatever their field of work may be. Any aspiring intrapreneur should take a look at this.
15 – 15inno by Stefan Lindegaard
When people want to find out about Open Innovation, there is really only one name on the list: Stefan Lindegaard. The man literally wrote the book on getting more ideas for your business through massive collaboration platforms, both from their own people or external resources. If your business is thinking about Open Innovation, this blog needs to be bookmarked.
The second blog on the list with multiple authors, InnovationManagement.se is a popular collection of articles and insight from various innovation experts (many of whom are on this list as well). Specialising in detailed, long-form articles, the quality of the writing is very high, although it does also have a large amount of advertising throughout the site.
McKeown’s blog is formed primarily from excerpts and insights from his books: The Strategy Book, and his current publication The Innovation Book. His position on the list is driven primarily by his high social authority. Some of his more long-form articles can also be found at Management Issues.
12 – Brainzooming by Mike Brown
Brainzooming is the methodology to give organisations the strategic insight and creative edge they need to improve their situation. Many of the articles in this blog are on the shorter end of the spectrum compared to many of the other blogs here, but there are still very useful insights to be found.
One of the core lessons of innovation which is getting more and more traction is that you need to keep gaining knowledge and insights from outside of your industry and comfort zone. And one of the best websites which makes cutting-edge science & technology accessible to the average person is New Scientist. Especially useful are insights into trends from around the globe, whether it’s graphene harvesting in the USA, water purification in Africa or the effect of smartphone usage on the brain. Even if you’re not a budding Edison or Einstein, reading the articles here may help trigger ideas from sources you would never have considered.
When you work with as many of the world’s top organisations as SAP does, those company CEOs expect you to know about improving business performance. SAP Innovation is another collection of articles from numerous authors, including others on this list, and there is a definite focus on technology innovation and business management / leadership rather than creativity. It should also be noted that many of the articles appearing on the site are republished with permission directly from the feeds on some experts’ own blogs, so the SAP blog acts as a form of editor for selecting good content.
Behance (part of Adobe) is a platform for people in the creative industries to share and promote their work. And their blog at 99u is all about helping people become more creative and do more with their ideas. What makes it stand out though is that the insight provided here range all the way from professional creatives sharing their working process to recent research on what actually makes people creative. Excellent resource.
8 – Improvides by Nick Skillicorn
2014 was a huge year for my blog at Improvides, which resulted in it being the fastest-growing blog of the year and one to follow in 2015. Primarily some of the longest and most detailed articles by experts on this list (usually over 1,000 words), what readers have also said they enjoy is the variety of topics being covered between innovation and creativity, with a heavy emphasis on research and evidence. As a result of this, it has been one of the most-shared blogs, with a number of articles which have gone viral outside of the innovation community, such as my exclusive interview on the neuroscience of creativity with Professor Vincent Walsh. And with plans to expand the blog even further in 2015, let’s hope it can continue growing at the same pace with even more quality.
Another great resource on the latest scientific research on improving your creativity, Creativity Post is where you’ll find a lot of articles from researchers in the field, whether they are psychologists, neuroscientists or in business management. Well worth a couple of hours a month, perhaps once a week.
Like many authors on this list, David Burkus writes for numerous publications, and his include the Harvard Business Review and Forbes. However, the reason he is so high on this list, even if other experts may have slightly higher social and domain authority, is his leading of an extensive series of interviews with other thought leaders on creativity at work. The series covered everything from the structure of the brain to overcoming fear of idea rejection and the various modules are available for purchase on en*theos. Burkus’ blog contains a wide variety of creativity and innovation based insights.
2014 was a big year for Kaufman, as he became the Scientific Director of The Imagination Institute in the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Out of everyone on this list, he is probably the most close to the forefront of research into the roots of creativity and its scientific basis. While a lot of his articles may be more academic in their style, and he may not publish as frequently as other experts, when he does release a new article it should always be taken seriously.
4 – Board of Innovation by Nick De Mey and Philippe De Ridder
De Mey and De Ridder are at de forefront of free innovation resources on their blog. In addition to their frequent blog articles, the Board of Innovation website has a treasure trove of other tools, templates and slideshows which anyone can access to start sparking ideas at their own company. One of my favorites is their list of 52 tools to help any company innovate like a startup.
3 – Scott Anthony’s blog at the Harvard Business Review
If there’s one publication which the world’s most powerful CEOs listen to, it’s probably the Harvard Business Review. After all, this is the publication where Clayton Christensen provides updates on his research and thoughts. And representing that publication on this list is the author of probably it’s most innovation-focused articles, Scott Anthony, CEO of Innosight. While the paywall surrounding HBR articles means many can’t be accessed, a lot of the blog articles are free and represent some of the most forward-looking innovation principles from a CEO’s perspective.
So you want a daily dose of inspiration about how other people are innovating, and what trends are going to shape the future of your industry. Then you need to take 10 minutes each day to look at Fast Company CoExist. Graphically heavy articles showing you examples of excellent designs and problem solving, usually in a medium-length article of a few hundred words, make these articles quick to digest and more likely than most to spark off ideas of your own.
The Granddaddy of all innovation blogs, and the virtual home of the innovation expert community, this is where the majority of experts publish copies of their articles as well. Run by Braden Kelley, Julie Anixter and Rowan Gibson, you’ll find long-form articles specifically about innovation and management here. Because of the volume of authors publishing here, there are often several articles published each day. There may be questions raised about how engaged the audience is with the material, based on lower-than-average share rates, but for anyone truly interested in innovation theory this site needs to be bookmarked.