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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ether Dome - Real World Innovation

So, I was going to discuss the difference behind real world and online innovation. But, after doing some research, I've to focus on some of the similarities.

But, before I jump into that, let me give @marketingprofs Ann Handley some more information on the Ether Dome. It's the site of the first documented demonstration (in the West) of anesthesia during surgery.

Once I did a bit of reading, the technique of using narcotic anesthesia for at least a millennium. The concept was not new, but the use of ether was a refinement on what had existed before. This principle of innovation has repeated itself through much of history -- including the internal combustion engine we rely on so much today.

Without veering into hyperbole (had to delete a few paragraphs), the Internet does encourage innovation by opening up access to history to a broader group of people. What I find interesting is that the new social media space is an extension of the offline history of people creating communities around their interests, locations, jobs, religions, etc.

Looking at it through that lens, the tools we are using to connect online now are less important than the acceptance of moving our ability to connect and develop relationships online. The real innovation is changing the perceptions about the validity of these methods.