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Posted by on Sep 26, 2010 in Science & Technology | 0 comments

Where Good Ideas Come From

The 4 min version of Steven Johnson’s new book


Johnson says of the video:

I have to admit when the good folks at Riverhead mentioned that they were working on an animated video promoting Where Good Ideas Come From, I wasn’t fully convinced it was going to be worth the effort. But the absolutely brilliant video they produced with Cognitive Media in the UK shows how wrong I was. It’s genuinely worth watching multiple times, which is something I’ve certainly never said before about a book promo.

He also had a piece in the WSJ yesterday:

The premise that innovation prospers when ideas can serendipitously connect and recombine with other ideas may seem logical enough, but the strange fact is that a great deal of the past two centuries of legal and folk wisdom about innovation has pursued the exact opposite argument, building walls between ideas. Ironically, those walls have been erected with the explicit aim of encouraging innovation. They go by many names: intellectual property, trade secrets, proprietary technology, top-secret R&D labs. But they share a founding assumption: that in the long run, innovation will increase if you put restrictions on the spread of new ideas, because those restrictions will allow the creators to collect large financial rewards from their inventions. And those rewards will then attract other innovators to follow in their path.

The problem with these closed environments is that they make it more difficult to explore the adjacent possible, because they reduce the overall network of minds that can potentially engage with a problem, and they reduce the unplanned collisions between ideas originating in different fields. This is why a growing number of large organizations—businesses, nonprofits, schools, government agencies—have begun experimenting with more open models of idea exchange.

The book will be released on October 5th. It’s available for pre-order here.

SEE ALSO: Johnson’s July TED Talk.

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