And Now for Something Completely Different: Visual Novelty in an Online Network of Designers

    Novelty is a key ingredient of innovation but quantifying it is difficult. This is especially true for visual work like graphic design. Using designs shared on an online social network of professional digital designers, we measure visual novelty using statistical learning methods to compare an image’s features with those of images that have been created before. We then relate social network position to the novelty of the designer’s images. We find that on this professional platform, users with dense local networks tend to produce more novel but generally less successful images, with important exceptions. Namely, users making novel images while embedded in cohesive local networks are more successful.

    Johannes Wachs, Bálint Daróczy, Anikó Hannák, Katinka Páll, Christoph Riedl
    In proceedings of 10th International ACM Web Science Conference 2018, Amsterdam, The Netherlands