information forager nounInformation Foraging, Peter Pirolli and Stuart K. Card. UIR Technical Report, January 1999.
“An information predator whose aim it is to select information prey so as to maximize the rate of gain of information relevant to their task.”
There’s a sense in which innovation is like foraging. Successful foraging requires a touch of luck, hawk eyes, and quite a bit of domain knowledge. In innovation and foraging alike, we sort through large amounts of heterogeneous input and find the best bits; the bits that are meant for us.
Just like berries picked from a tree, you find information along the way, and you must figure out what it is and whether it’s safe and beneficial to use. A Yew berry is not a Lingonberry, and don’t eat the Pokeberry; missteps can have occasionally poisonous consequences. In any innovation effort, whether a new business or a new product or service, there are similarly a handful of decisions that are life-threatening or life-altering – and they often stand out like ripe berries in the sun.
We use our skill as information foragers to build arguments, analyses, and frameworks that deliver keen insights and empower innovation leaders to confidently plan for and capitalize on the fruit of new seasons: the changing technological, competitive, market, and operational climates in which we do business.