The Social Era Produces Idea Factories

by Jay Deragon on 02/11/2013


The social web represents the new “manufacturing model” for economic growth and social progress.  In the Social Era people, individually and collectively, manufacture ideas that improve the way value is created from both tangible and intangible assets. The web is the factory of ideas where people are both suppliers and buyers.

The idea factory isn’t built by tangible assets, similar to those of the industrial era, rather idea factories are built by intangible assets that have become self evident in the Social Era.

The tangible assets of the industrial era produced money (capital) from machines that produced things for consumption. The intangible assets of the Social Era produce ideas (capital) from minds that produce value for consumption. Production in the industrial era was primary output of measure. Ideation in the Social Era is the primary output of measure.

Ideation is the creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas, where an idea is understood as a basic element of thought that can be either visual, concrete, or abstract. Ideation is all stages of a thought cycle, from innovation, to development, to actualization. As such, it is an essential part of economic development and social progress.

The capacity to create and understand the meaning of ideas is considered to be an essential and defining feature of human capital. Human capital is increased through networks of relationships. The collective engagement of relations helps vet ideas and development them into reality. This process manufactures relationship capital. Relationship capital is created from the exchange of human capital for the purposes of creating more value.

Value Creation ElementsOnce an idea has been vetted through the use of human and relationship capital then for the idea to be consumed it requires strategy and structure both of which are units of intangible capital.

Strategic capital represents the value created from implemeting an idea. It is realized through a product, service or a thought that creates economic value by fulfilling a purpose. Structural capital represents intangible assets that enable an “organization” to leverage the value created through organizational design as well as operating and information technology systems that enable interactions with markets.

Once an idea reaches the larger market of relationships the subsequent transactions are the tangible results measured in economic terms.  This is the factory of the 21st Century that represents the creation of tangible results from intangible capital, ideas.

The idea factories of the Social Era are not built with the same mental models that produced factories in the Industrail Era. Idea factories emphasize the production of value from intangible assets vs. value from tangible assets.

Idea factories are the new “manufacturing model” for economic growth and progress in the Social Era. Start building your own factory.


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