Sparking Innovation

In a remarkably fast evolution from what-if rumination on a blog to cutting-edge news dissemination, Alex Kerin's idea last year of how to use Twitter to share sparkline infographics on Twitter was used by the Wall Street Journal to share unemployment statistics.

It's a clever hack, as well-explained by the Journal's own Zach Seward, building on work by The Data Collective to create a web-based sparktweet tool. The results really do an effective job of showing how compelling news can be when it embraces a new medium instead of fighting against its constraints.

WSJ sparktweet

But aside from sharing interesting data in a novel way, what's most remarkable about the example is how quickly new ideas can bubble up from creative individuals all the way to powerful media institutions with huge reach. And it only happens if those creators blog about what they've done.

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