Sunday, 26 September 2010

Connection is key for innovation

A little luck and a lot of perspiration is no longer the prerequisite for innovation. Nowadays connections, relationships and networks are key.

Steven Johnson's next book is about Where Good Ideas Come From. You can watch him in action on this TED video (which starts with a picture and talk about the Grand Cafe in Oxford).

A couple of key points include:

  1. Innovation is the result of the brain making new connections and these connections mirror workplace connectivity.  The better the networks and more complex the relationships then the more likely it will be that good ideas arise. His premise is that innovation is an interactive process.
  2. The architecture of space is important if ideas are to be generated and spread - he has looked into what environments have contributed to innovation. If we want innovation we need to design spaces that enable connections.
  3. Great ideas that appear to spark from nowhere are most likely the result of a long period of incubation which may not be obvious and are most likely cobbled together from a variety of existing ideas.. He argues that ideas are networks and the way of thinking about them as sparks, illumination etc is no longer relevant.

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