The Amplified Individual needed for Innovation

I have been reading a fascinating report compiled for Nesta ( entitled “Amplified Leicester- Impact on social capital and cohesion”, written by Thilo Boeck and Sue Thomas of De Montford University (

As we all struggle with the increasing needs and complexity of innovation capacity it is the power of combining a greater diversity that holds real promise in the future

In this report it explores at the intersection of difference, amplification and transliteracy the achievements of a city-wide experiment in Leicester to grow the innovation capacity across the city’s disparate and diverse communities, and to share new skills which are fast becoming essential in 21st century workplaces and communities. It looks at social capital and uses emerging social media and provides a framework that allows for a diverse group to move towards cohesion and amplification.

It took the emerging ‘amplified individual’ based on research conducted by the Institute for the Future, Palo Alto, California and other diverse strands to combine them in this project that seemed to yield some fascinating results. Take a read here by downloading the report here

What struck me was this amplified individual’s definition. Why I’ve wanted to gain a clearer understanding of younger generations different skills and characteristics and these helps significantly and to quote from the report.

So what are amplified individuals?

According to the ongoing research they share four important characteristics: they are highly social; highly collective; highly improvisational; and highly augmented

First, they are highly social. They use tagging software, wikis, social networks, and other human intelligence aggregators to supplement their individual knowledge and to understand what their individual contributions mean in the context of the organisation, giving meaning to even the most menial tasks.

Amplified individuals are highly collective, taking advantage of online collaboration software, mobile communications tools, and immersive virtual environments to engage globally distributed team members with highly specialised and complementary capacities.

Amplified individuals are also highly improvisational, capable of banding together to form effective networks and infrastructures, both social and professional.

Finally, amplified individuals are highly augmented. They employ visualisation tools, attention filters, e-displays, and ambient presence systems to enhance their cognitive abilities and coordination skills, thus enabling them to quickly access and process massive amounts of information.

According to the Institute for the Future, an amplified skill set emerges from groups with these features:”As networked amplification becomes the norm, individuals are developing new super-individual skills that enable them to thrive in an increasingly complex and collaborative work culture.”

The result is an amplified skill set of ten characteristics, outlined in the report- take a view if having fresh insights into what is emerging as the new skills sets needed for a global connected innovating world. Again the report can be downloaded here

I always enjoy Nesta’s imaginative work in supporting projects like this one. If you are unaware NESTA is the UK’s foremost independent expert on how innovation can solve some of the economic and social challenges. Its work is enabled by an endowment, funded by the National Lottery, and it operates at no cost to the government or taxpayer.

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