It’s Friday and that means another book review. Not to worry, this is not your standard five page grade school project. My goal is to direct you towards books that are of interest to you.
We have all seen the classic cartoon moment when a thought bubble appears and the light bulb goes off. We’ve seen the movie of the lone genius in a room along until the epiphany comes and creates the next big thing.
Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From dispels those myths. Johnson uses the great inventions and theories as evidence of his own theory of how ideas truly develop. For the most part he capitalizes on Darwin’s theories as his own backdrop to juxtapose that ideas evolve just as much as nature.
Here is a way to think of a great idea. Chocolate chip cookies. Who doesn’t love some cookies? Imagine the cookies being the great idea. How do you get to that end result? You have to mix the ingredients together. Flour, sugar, butter, etc. The ingredients of a good idea are just other ideas or hunches that you already know. Facts, figures, and past ideas. The time it takes for the cookies to cook is the incubation period of a great idea.
The bigger point of the book, at least for me, was the communal aspect of ideas coming together. Discussion groups and open networks provide the greatest possibility of innovation. A couple centuries ago coffee houses used to be a place of open discussion and pushed multiple hunches together into a new idea. Today that is happening on the Internet. Websites, chat rooms, email listserves and others are the modern day coffee houses in which hunches from across the world are coming together. We are pushing innovation even faster than ever before.
Overall the book propelled me to take a long look at how my ideas develop. I found that I often try to take it all on myself instead of collaborating with others. Now I am taking better advantage of listserves and storing ideas into Evernote in order to come back to them later.
I encourage you to pick up the book if you work in a business where ideas matter. It will provide a great outline because “chance favors the connected mind.”
© Aaron Krager 2008-2013 | Have any questions? Send me an email.