Where (and when) ideas happen

Steven Johnson’s TED talk explores where ideas happen.

He focusses on two ways innovation successes are misreported and misunderstood.

First, people simplify their ideas as solitary Eureka moments, whereas ideas often happen in social environments

They also tend to abbreviate their stories of how ideas happened, whereas in fact lot of ideas have very long incubation periods (“the slow hunch”).

Darwin, for example, presented his theory of natural selection as one of these sudden insights, whereas researchers show he had the idea for months before his reported epiphany. He also explains how those dabbling on a side project to measure satellite trajectories evolves into what is now GPS. It’s a long term, non-linear story.

He also argues that these misconceptions partly justify ideas of intellectual property whereas perhaps we should be more interested in connecting ideas than protecting them.

1 thought on “Where (and when) ideas happen

  1. Tim Kastelle

    Nice post Johnnie – your last comment:

    “whereas perhaps we should be more interested in connecting ideas than protecting them”

    is absolutely correct, and I think it’s the key takeaway from the entire talk.

    Reply

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