Next month, the New Florence blog will celebrate two milestones - its 9th birthday and 4,000 posts. Add to that the 00s of hours of my consulting and book case study interviews and I have a nice database to analyze for patterns.
NF is categorized by nearly 50 topics from Data Visualization to 3D printers and I periodically summarize the global sources they are coming from, but even more interesting is to see the “entities” they are coming from. It is a constantly shifting kaleidoscope – but here is a loose categorization.
Large technology vendors – 25%
Amazon, Apple. Google, Microsoft, HP, IBM, SAP etc etc …get plenty of media and analyst coverage which should suggest they get the majority of NF posts. Actually they make up only about 25% of this blog’s coverage. When you look at innovation projects at (business) customers the tools of these vendors are usually too horizontal or too expensive to make too much of a dent. They have much more impact on back office and infrastructure IT. NF does like to write about the operations of these vendors - their supply chains, their data centers etc– and how they are themselves innovating. Of course with their sprawling portfolio of skills, these vendors can pull together machine learning. cloud infrastructures and other assets which allow them to create standout solutions, just wish they did so consistently.
Large non-tech companies – 25%
Ever since my 2011 research for The New Technology Elite where I cataloged 75+ industries which are embedding technology in their products and services, this blog has cataloged product, process, marketing and business model innovation at companies like BMW, Corning, Delta Airlines. GE, Keurig, Lego, Siemens and countless others. Most bloggers and media find this innovation boring or difficult to categorize in their market TLA classifications. Still others in an honest moment will tell you they don’t make any money from these companies so feel little incentive to profile their innovations.
Fast growing vendors – 15%
This blog has cataloged a number of SaaS/cloud and mobile vendors over the years. Entrepreneurs and VCs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere provide a steady diet of posts. It is a joy to see firms like Workday and Appirio and HireVue and FireEye evolve and thrive years after I first write about them. Often a trip to Toronto or Lexington, KY will allow for opportunities to profile local tech communities. I also like to stay in touch with VARs who keep expanding their portfolio of products into innovative POS, collaboration and other technologies for SME customers who typically have light internal IT capabilities
SME non-tech customers – 5%
I find the German Mittelstand – its ecosystem of mid market companies – fascinating and profile companies from there and often similar ones from Japan, Poland and elsewhere. Ditto with creative and artisanal communities in the US, Italy and elsewhere.
Academia/Research Units – 5%
Basic research at several universities, at labs at Microsoft, GE, elsewhere and papers from professors I meet through book research and stay in touch with provides a bit of a different and forward looking dimension to the blog
The “Calendar” – 10%
Events and holidays which repeat every year like the State of the Union speech and St. Patrick’s Day and those that repeat every few years like the Olympics provide a steady stream of posts. The changing technology and design thinking provides a nice timeline of innovation and our zeitgeist – the changing spirit of our times.
Personal Life – 10%
The guest series I ran in 2009 and am running again this year where people talk about how science and technology is helping evolve their passions/hobbies provides a fascinating glimpse of how pervasive technology is in life. As houses and cars and clothes get “smarter” they provide plenty of other posts.
Unexpected Places – 5%
Search the blog for Estonia, Dubai, Singapore and you will see plenty of posts. Uganda and Ukraine have far fewer but the blog likes to also profile what may appear low-tech but helps evolve life for its citizens and qualifies as innovation.
The percentages I have above change quite a bit from year to year as companies and regions ebb and flow with their innovation output. But when I hear people complain they see innovation slowing down, I tell them they are not looking wide enough. I am part of many communities across these areas and unfortunately folks in each believe they are the only innovative people. I also see too many analysts and bloggers cling to their unique market segments be it CRM or data centers and “project” innovation from that view out.
The NF pace of posts keeps accelerating. Based on average of 100 posts a month in last few months, New Florence could have a 1,000 post year. In contrast, the first 1,000 posts took the blog 3 and a half years to achieve. And this pace accelerates even though my definition of what qualifies for including on the blog keeps getting much more demanding.
9 years later with this wave of relentless innovation I am even more convinced this is what Florence must have felt like during the European Renaissance and glad that I named the blog what I did.