What is probing?

These are the dynamics of pioneers and satellites – people and organizations experimenting way ahead of the masses. Think of small labs and institutes, think of artists and mad scientists. All launching highly innovative ideas, all breaking technological or conceptual frontiers. These probes are focused, almost nerdy. Not too interested in scaling or mass audience, only looking forward. How to harvest their most fruitful innovations?

But how does it work?

Common content is the moving force
Content is what thrives these people in probes. Scientists, artists and other pioneers work on very specific themes like wearables, typography or local autarky. They share love for the matter, focus and determination: ‘let’s make new stuff’.
Collaborative spaces are the means
In labs they gather. Around the newest technologies they gather. They bundle forces out of eagerness, knowing they need joint ventures to really innovate. But they do mostly so in niches: from a distance one might see more similarities than differences.
Linking pins are the gate keepers
With the ‘geeks’ constantly launching (and letting go) innovations, linking pins are the ones cherry picking the most useful ideas and transferring them to new markets. In most cases they are not formally attached to the probes, but working in a different field. They are monitoring or contacting them, knowing the probes produce solid gold every now and then.
Buzz might follow
If a linking pin adopts an idea of these pioneers, he or she might be able to place it in a different context and make sure it gets the buzz it deserves and needs. Away from the geeking, towards new markets and networks. Into the spotlights, finding new applications, reaching wider audience and offering scaling possibilities.

How to deal with probing

Select excellence

When aiming for an effective probe, the people staffing it must be top of the bill. This goes for their professional discipline as well as their pioneering skills.

Confidence and patience

Probes need time to experiment, fail, succeed and grow. They’ll launch many ideas, only few will be picked. Results will come, but never as planned.

Take a look at the other cases:

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