Where Good Ideas Come From: The Value of Collisions

November 29th, 2013   •   no comments   

One Hunch Needs to “Bump Into” Another Hunch To Form an Idea: Artistry In Progress

The New Year will be upon us: in a mystical way, many of us feel like it is a “clean slate,” a tabula rasa on which we can write our new lives: The World Of 2014.

I like this concept.  I like it so much that I would advocate for a monthly “clean slate” where we could, symbolically, “start fresh.”  This concept meshes with my burgeoning view that we are all engaged in the arts; we must all create, innovate — whether in business or in the arts — or we languish.  Wasting away, mental or creatively, has never been one of my options and I think we would be fooling ourselves if we thought otherwise: we are engines of creativity, innovation.

imagesWith that premise of continual invention, this might be a good time to visit “where good ideas come from.”  Steven Johnson, in his four (4) minute YouTube Video, provides some insights (from his studies on the subject) on how an environment that promotes the fanciful, new inklings can be helped along.

His most profound finding is that, often, we each have a piece of a great idea.  Through the bumping of one hunch into another hunch, a good idea is formed.  Rarely, he finds, is it just a one person event.

Going back in history, he cites the early English coffee houses of the 1650’s that created a place where ideas could brew, marinate.  Johnson calls it “The Liquid Network;” the stimulants of coffee and tea were quite radical to the previous consumption of large amounts of alcohol in the form of beer (breakfast), wine (lunch) and more spirits for dinner.

What the www. (World Wide Web) now provides is the kind of connectivity, for example, that allows for more bumping, more collisions of hunches, notions.  (We don’t give it enough credit.)

So, what would it take to create an ecosystem in your organization that mimics the alacrity of “The Liquid Network?”  Some ingredients Johnson thinks need to be present: fluidity; information spillover; diverse views, and; different fields of expertise.

In short: chaos.  Why not give it a try in 2014?

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