The Innovation Twitterverse: Feeds We Follow

The smartest, punchiest, most relevant-est innovators on Twitter right now.
ore than 11,000 people purport to Tweet about innovation. That’s probably about 10,971 more handles than you have time to pay attention to. So we’ve done a comb-through, keying in on ideators who are contributing substance and stimulus for further innovation. The following folks provoke, nudge, and engage in 140 characters or less.
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This list is a work in progress—a first stab at qualifying who contributes most to the innovation conversation on Twitter by directing us to illuminating content, providing insider opinions or delivering missives from the front lines. We hope you agree—but we’re also up for a fight. Someone not included who should be? Someone you think doesn’t belong? Tweet @whatifglobal to debate and nominate.

Ed. Note: We’ve ranked each according to an innovation insider index (one to 10), with those who cater more to the general public scoring lower.

Handle: @anildash
Name: Anil Dash
Claim to fame: Director, Expert Labs, a public technology incubator
Followers: 406,658
Follow for: Witty observations on technology and the oddities of life
Sample tweet: “At the barbershop this morning, the older guys talking about tech: Amazon’s great, Best Buy’s bad & the ‘Apple dealership’? Terrific store.”
Insider index: 3

Handle: @cshirky
Name: Clay Shirky
Claim to fame: Associate arts professor, NYU Interactive Telecommunications Program; distinguished writer in residence, NYU Journalism Department
Followers: 204,184
Follow for: Directions to the most fascinating examples of how the Internet affects society
Sample tweet: “Geeky & long, but Bret Victor’s video on writing software using responsive programming tools is wonderful”
Insider index: 4

Handle: @brainpicker
Name: Maria Popova
Claim to fame: Curator of eclectic culture at
Followers: 177,603
Follow for: Intellectual amuse bouche from the fields of science, art, and literature
Sample tweet: “Free Radicals – how anarchy and serendipity shaped some of history's greatest scientific breakthroughs” (a review of the book by Michael Brooks)
Insider index: 2

Handle: @alexismadrigal
Name: Alexis Madrigal
Claim to fame: Senior editor, The Atlantic; cofounder, Longshot, an online magazine created in 48 hours
Followers: 93,024
Follow for: Frenetic musings on the future of media
Sample tweet: “If by traffic, you still mean page views, you probably shouldn’t be the president of a media company.”
Insider index: 7

Handle: @nilofer
Name: Nilofer Merchant
Claim to fame: Author, The New How
Followers: 13,812
Follow for: No-bulls--t opinions on power, women, and business
Sample tweet: “We keep acting as if consumers are just in a funk and should apply stimulus. But what if it’s an opportunity to reinvent?”
Insider index: 5

Handle: @skap5
Name: Saul Kaplan
Claim to fame: Founder, Business Innovation Factory; author, The Business Model Innovation Factory
Followers: 10,368
Follow for: Rich, thought-provoking insights on business strategy and innovation
Sample tweet: “Austerity vs. growth is a false choice. Need to reposition public sector investment to better catalyze & sustain growth.”
Insider index: 4

Handle: @todd_park
Name: Todd Park
Claim to fame: U.S. chief technology officer, assistant to the president
Followers: 9,436
Follow for: Keeping tabs on what America’s top tech guy keeps tabs on
Sample tweet: “Silicon Bayou - aka Lafayette, Louisiana - is the best kept secret reservoir of innovation mojo in America #cajuncodefest”
Insider index: 1

Handle: @medriscoll
Name: Michael E. Driscoll
Claim to fame: CEO, Metamarkets, a firm that helps online businesses analyze their data
Followers: 6,346
Follow for: Big Data dispatches
Sample tweet: “Area ripe for disruption: credit scoring. Unreal how what an information-poor system undergirds the consumer financial sector.”
Insider index: 6

Handle: @TeresaAmabile
Name: Teresa Amabile
Claim to fame: Harvard Business School professor and director of research, author of The Progress Principle
Followers: 2,875
Follow for: Margin notes from an HBS professor’s reading list
Sample tweet: “New research: Protecting the heart with #optimism via @Harvard #health #positivepsychology”
Insider index: 2

Handle: @rgkirkpatrick
Name: Robert Kirkpatrick
Claim to fame: Director of the UN’s innovation lab, Global Pulse
Followers: 1,512
Follow for: Insights from the Wild West of technosocial innovation
Sample tweet: “Whenever I encounter personalization in an online service, I want to see a button next to it labeled: ‘how did we know this?’ #privacy”
Insider index: 2

Illustration by Michael Sendrow.

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