Your Current Environment Could Determine Your Creative Capacity

10 Nov


My latest quick skim, has been Steven Johnson’s “Where Good Ideas Come From”…

Steven Johnson explains the inspiration behind creative thinking &  innovation.  In the first few chapters, Johnson presents an example of how a small moment can transform an idea into a BIG  idea:

Stephane Tarnier took a day off from his work at the Maternity de Paris, and visited the zoo.  He was inspired by the exhibit of chicken incubators and decided to contract a device similar for human newborns.  Because of this, the rate of fatalities of newborns had decreased drastically.

Here is another excerpt from the book:

“This is a book about the space of innovation.  Some environments squelch new ideas; some environments seem to breed them effortlessly.  The city and the Web have been such engines of innovation because, for complicated historical reasons, they are both environments that are powerfully suited for the creation, diffusion, and adoption of good ideas.  Neither environment is perfect, by any means.  But both the city and the web possess an undeniable track record at generating innovation.  In the same way, the “myriad tiny architects” of Darwin’s coral reef create an environment where biological innovation can flourish.  If we want to understand where good ideas come from, we have to put them in context.  Darwin’s world-changing idea unfolded inside his brain, but think of all the environments and tools he need to piece it together: a ship, an archipelago, a notebook, a library, a coral reef.  Our thought shapes the spaces we inhabit, and our spaces return the favor.  The argument of this book is that a series of shared properties and patterns recur again and again in unusually fertile environments.  I have distilled them down into seven patterns, each one occupying a separate chapter.  The more we embrace these patterns- in our private work habits and hobbies, in our office environments, n the design of software tools, the better we will be at tapping our extraordinary capacity for innovative thinking.”

Johnson raises some good points.  As human beings, we must identify where we find ourselves, and does our environment help motivate us to embrace our highest innovative state-of-mind?


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