Building bridges between stocks and flows

Lavertezzo ponte dei saltiI really enjoyed this thinking about stocks and flows that are necessary.

Let me share the part that works really well for me. This relates to approaching social media but it equally applies to building innovation capital, it is recognizing and then building the stock and the flows around innovation.

Robin Sloan does a brilliant job of explaining this:

“One of the biggest takeaways was the concept of stock and flow. Do you know about this? Couldn’t be simpler, and really, it’s not even that much of an a-ha.

There are two kinds of quantities in the world. Stock is a static value: money in the bank, or trees in the forest. Flow is a rate of change: fifteen dollars an hour, or three thousand toothpicks a day. Easy – too easy.

But I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for media today. Here’s what I mean:

Flow is the feed. It’s the posts and the tweets. It’s the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind people that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It’s the content you produce that’s as interesting in two months (or two years) as it is today. It’s what people discover via search. It’s what spreads slowly but surely, building fans over time.

I feel like flow is ascendant these days, for obvious reasons—but we neglect stock at our own peril.
I mean that both in terms of the health of an audience and, like, the health of a soul. Flow is a treadmill, and you can’t spend all of your time running on the treadmill. Well, you can. But then one day you’ll get off and look around and go: Oh man. I’ve got nothing here.

But I’m not saying you should ignore flow! No: this is no time to hole up and work in isolation, emerging after long months or years with your perfectly-polished opus. Everybody will go: huh? Who are you? And even if they don’t—even if your exquisitely-carved marble statue of Boba Fett is the talk of the tumblrs for two whole days—if you don’t have flow to plug your new fans into, you’re suffering a huge (here it is!) opportunity cost. You’ll have to find them all again next time you emerge from your cave.

You can tell that I want you to stop and think about stock here. I feel like we all got really good at flow, really fast. But flow is ephemeral. Stock sticks around. Stock is capital. Stock is protein. And the real magic trick in 2010 is to put them both together. To keep the ball bouncing with your flow—to maintain that open channel of communication—while you work on some kick-ass stock in the background. Sacrifice neither. It’s the hybrid strategy.

Anyway: this is not a huge insight, I know. Mostly I just wanted to share the lingo, because it’s been echoing in my head since my first microeconomics course. Today, whenever I put my hands on the keyboard, I’m asking myself: Is this stock? Is this flow? How’s my mix? Do I have enough of both?”

Source: Robin Sloan http://snarkmarket.com/2010/4890

He also added “You’re totally right about the interplay; when everything’s working together, stock leads to flow leads to stock”. “Building bridges between stock and flow”

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About paul4innovating
I research innovation and provide insights & advice to individuals, teams, and organizations

2 Responses to Building bridges between stocks and flows

  1. Pingback: Defining Innovation Capital | innovationfitnessdynamics

  2. Pingback: Fusion, Flow and Fluidity are needed in our Management Practices | Paul4innovating's Innovation Views

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