Good idea according to Steven Johnson

Everyone wants to be as flawless as they can be. Well, creativity has a lot to do with this. In his new exploration of creativity, Steven Johnson turns this notion on its head: good ideas come out of the thick of it. They are the result of the right place and the right time; of chance and failure; of letting things mull for a bit; of thinking across borders. He asks us to rethink where we place innovation.

Good ideas are hatched in individual human minds, which might be anywhere on the planet. But they are not just anywhere. They are more likely to be in some sorts of places than others.

In nature, the same question arises about the variety of life forms. Johnson begins with Charles Darwin on an atoll awash with life, and wondering: Why is this place so much richer in life than the sea around it? Johnson is looking for the new ideas in our civilization and seeking to explain why they arise where they do.

Good ideas don’t hatch fully formed, like Athena out of the skull of Zeus. The real story of innovation, writes Johnson, is “the slow hunch,” nurtured like a backyard tomato plant. Writing the hunch down and talking with other people about it can complete an idea. ”The most productive tool for generating good ideas,” writes Johnson, is “a circle of humans sitting around a table, talking shop.”Another way is to break your routine. Go fishing. Soak in the tub. Go for a walk. Johnson writes, “The history of innovation is replete with stories of good ideas that occurred to people while they were out on a stroll.”

I think every person have ideas and dreams they wish would come true, but as Johnson mentioned that it is the pieces of small ideas that has to be put together and MAYBE a big great idea can be found, and I think not many people realize how important one of the small ideas they might have is hence they ignore it and a good opportunity is lost.

Johnson also mentions how the advancement of the internet is affecting how we think. It is interesting to think that the rise in connectivity on the Web is providing individuals with opportunities to swap and produce more creativity and the ‘sharing and borrowing’ of another person’s ideas and combining them with our own will make it more creative.

Social networking has definitely made it possible and more convenient for the public sphere to be more connected and helped in shaping the society and instilled more creativity in people.

As Johnson explains, think of it as being in a room with many doors, each leading to another room with a set of doors of its own, leading to more sets of multi-doored rooms ad infinitum. The point is that not every location is immediately within reach from the room you’re standing in. As Johnson says on one hand, it teaches us that to innovate we have to “experiment at the edges of the present state, But it’s an expression of limits, too, in that you can’t leap ahead too far.”


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