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Good Ideas come from being connected.,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (Gebundene Ausgabe)
This is an interesting read on innovation. From the analysis of breakthrough ideas that changed and shaped our world Steven Johnson proposes 7 patterns that make inventions possible which turn out to be true innovations.
Innovations emerge because inventors use already existing parts or components and bring them together in new ways: Gutenberg's development of the printing press is an example here. This pattern is called the "Adjacent Possible" as it goes "just" one step further, as the real innovation proves to be around the corner.
The second pattern is described as "Liquid networks" that help people to come up with good ideas. Johnson writes"... an idea is not a single thing. It is more like a swarm." A big city and the World Wide Web serve as examples here.
Then you have the "slow hunch", an idea that you have for years at the back of your mind till the time is ripe and you can connect it to a new thought and the combination then sets you on the path of innovation. "Serendipity" and "Error" are two other patterns well-known to every researcher and scientist. Then you have "Exaptation", where something is used in a new and clever way: birds used feathers at the beginning more to keep warm and then for flying.
"Platforms" as the last pattern for ideas was a bit farfetched for my feeling but still the overall message is clear: Trying things out, sharing your thoughts and hunches with fellow researchers and scientists will lead to good ideas that could be turned into innovations. Good ideas are not born out of nowhere and they take time to form and materialize.
Two things I liked in particular: in the introduction "Reef, City, Web" Johnson shows that the environment is important for the development of new ideas. The ecosystem of a reef brings about an abundance of different live forms building and sharing a coral reef. In comparison to such a reef environment the ocean itself is rather empty of life. Likewise a big city is far more stimulating for new ideas than a small village somewhere in the middle of nowhere. New things develop far easier in metropolitan areas than in a rural environment. And second Johnson speculates in the chapter "The Slow Hunch" that authorities like state police or secret services could be far more effective, if they would share their information and have agents and officers connect their hunches to from ideas on information that might be worth following up. This probably never happens as the top principle here is secrecy and keeping everything under cover. But a field day for secret agents with brainstorming sessions and open discussions might still be an entertaining thought.
The book indeed helps to reflect on when and where you are most creative, when insights form and how you can use your creativity to the most. Notes and further reading at the end of the book help to expand the ideas.