Where Good Ideas Come from

Very inspired by Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

This passage just about sums up what I’ve learned in the past year about curating events while building up my business:

In thinking about networked innovation this way, I am specifically not talking about a “global brain,” or a “hive mind” There are indeed some problems that are wonderfully solved by collective thinking: formation of neighborhoods in cities, the variable signals of market pricing, the elaborate engineering feats of the social insects. But as many critics have pointed out – most recently, the computer scientist and musician Jaron Lanier – large collectives are rarely capable of true creativity or innovation. (We have the term “heard mentality” for a reason.) When the first market towns emerged in Italy, They simply widened the pool of minds that could come up with and share good ideas. This is not the wisdom of the crowd, but the wisdom of someone in the crowd. It’s not that the network itself is smart; it’s that the individuals get smarter because they’re connected to the network.

With fluidity Johnson moves from looking at networks on a molecular and sub-atomic level and then zooms out to look at cities and society. The adjacent possible is a clever principle, one that feels like so intuitive, as I’m reading, I feel as though I’ve known about it all along.