Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation A Must-Read for All Businesses and Individuals Interested in Innovation

I read a lot of business books. Some I pick up on my own and some are given to me by the Chairman of the company I work at. Not all the books I read are good, but those that are usually have one important takeaway that sticks with me.

This book is one of those good ones. So much so that it has inspired me to write this blog post on Edmunds Technology Blog.

It is rife with great takeaways, or as I like to call them, themes. Those "themes" manage to tie together all the other seemingly disparate ideas I've come across in my previous readings, especially the ones on culture of organizations, success and data openness.

The main main theme that stood out for me in this book was the concept of the adjacent possible. The is by far the most interesting and revealing concept I've come across in a while. Essentially, it is a "shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself."

The author goes on to say that, "what the adjacent possible tells us is that at any moment the world is capable of extraordinary change, but only certain changes can happen." That brings to mind the theme of Openness discussed in Charlene Li's Open Leadership which to me seems to be an application of the adjacent possible. Our collective emotional and mental societal state had made it possible for businesses to be open and transparent. Openness in business has just recently entered the realm of the adjacent possible and the reason why is because the ingredients to make it successful are now mature and ready.

The other important theme discussed in the book is the concept of the liquid networks. The concept is all about feng shui for innovation. Creating the right fluidity between minds and spaces is an art and those who master it are likely to be more innovative than those that don't. The author uses MIT's building 20 and Microsoft's building 99 as examples of successful liquid networks.

In addition to these two fascinating and important concepts, the book discusses an array of other concepts that have proven to be a source of innovation. A great read for anyone interested in the subject.

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