In a previous post, I described the innovator and his usefulness in the SAM (social adoption mechanism). I like to see the innovator as a sort of R&D center cut loose from the daily relevance of a social system. They are said to have an ‘unhealthy’ interest in one or a couple of domains while having a lack of interest in more common domains. The innovator builds knowledge and sharpens his skills that might come in very handy for his tribe one day. When that day comes, his knowledge will become highly relevant and, following the SAM philosophy, will be picked up by the gatekeepers of his tribe.
While the innovator can be seen as the R&D center of the social system, the gatekeeper serves as the radar that links an innovation to a social opportunity. Unlike the innovator, he is very sensitive for the social cues he gets from his social system. The gatekeeper is very early in scanning the environment, detecting social opportunities and matching them with an innovation.
While the sociometer of the innovator is triggered by passion for a domain, the gatekeeper’s sociometer is sensitive for social opportunities. In the end, both types will receive their social acceptance, but the difference in how they obtain this acceptance, defines the working of the SAM.
This is why innovation makes much more sense when looking at it from a social point of view.