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Dialogue: The Key to Innovation

By Kim Green-Spangler
Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004

In many ways, today's Internet businesspeople are completely on their own. For some people, the lack of bosses, employees and co-workers is one of the reasons why they chose to enter e-commerce in the first place. Certainly, being able to chart your own path and taking responsibility for your own destiny are admirable goals.

There are some downsides to being on your own, however. One of the largest problems I have seen with Internet businesses is a lack of "innovative dialogue." That is, I believe that communication with others is a useful (and perhaps necessary) ingredient for creating new, innovative ideas.

I'm not saying that a person can't have a "flash of inspiration," like Newton getting hit on the head with his famous apple. What I am saying is that when we share our ideas with friends, family, or colleagues, we often come up with even more ideas we had never thought of before.

Literary theorists call this "dialogism" -- I call it our need to share with each other. That's the best part of being part of a community -- we can share our ideas with each other, combine them, modify them, and perhaps come up with something spectacular.

But, how do you do this when you are an Internet entrepreneur on your own? Well, apart from hiring some employees to talk to, or bringing partners in to the business, here are a few ways to find community and dialogue on the Net:

* Join a discussion board. Many discussion boards are set up to allow businesspeople to share ideas with each other. By becoming a contributing member, you can uncover some great ideas and pass along your own expertise as well. The key here is to be a FULL member -- that is, someone who is willing to read and understand other people's posts, and is not just interested in promoting their own point of view.

* Maintain communication with your colleagues and clients. The most innovative and successful individuals on the Internet have realized the simple truth that you should turn your "contacts" into "relationships." That is, maintain communication with your customers, even if you are not expecting repeat sales. This holds true for your suppliers as well. The insight you can get from your discussion with these people will more than make up for the time you might lose writing the emails!

* Seek expert opinions. The greatest asset of a lot of so-called Internet "gurus" is simply their experience. Don't be afraid to tap into this experience by communicating with people who may have knowledge or information that you don't. For instance, if you have a question about marketing, don't be afraid to email someone who does it for a living. You may get more than an answer -- these kinds of questions often lead to profitable professional relationships.

Even if you are sitting by yourself behind a computer in your house, realize that you are not alone unless you choose to be. Don't fall into the trap of isolation -- create and maintain relationships that will help spark your imagination and get those creative juices flowing!

About the Author
Kim Green-Spangler is a home-based freelance writer. She also runs a successful copywriting, ghostwriting, and resume writing business - (


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