Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interesting thoughts about where good ideas come from

My mother sent my family the URL for this video:

I enjoyed it and found the video worth watching.

The speaker, Steven Johnson, is author of the book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation.

The video seems to have the highlights of his book. He has spent five years trying to understand the environments that create good ideas.

He started off talking about coffee houses around 1650 in England. Up till then most people drank beer for breakfast, wine for lunch and gin for dinner. This was because the water could be deadly. Coffee houses did a couple things. One people's brains were clearer. A second thing was it brought people together. Steve said many good ideas are the result of a network of people and ideas, not the result of a mad scientist along in his lab.

Steve said that also many good ideas are not the result of an Eureka moment, but the result of a long slow hunch. People would worry about a problem for days, weeks, months, maybe even years, before they finally came up with the breakthrough idea.

He said it was also good to connect hunches. That often people would come up with great ideas as they shared what kinds of problems they were struggling with.

If this sounds interesting, but you haven't watched the above video, you can check out this four minute version of his ideas:

1 comment:

Luke said...

I just read an article in Wired about how the Twitter/Updates/Mirco-blogging world has actually made way for more in-depth, long-form reading. As one person put it: I post the small stuff on Twitter and save the in-depth analysis for my blog.

It was a fascinating tie-in to the connectivity of ideas from the video you posted. Sadly, I couldn't find a link on the web for you.