Gathering inspiration about good ideas

So, following on from my last post, I have been given the opportunity to speak at the forthcoming inaugural She Says Scotland event, which is also titled ‘Where Do Good Ideas Come From?’  I’m now trying to think of an interesting angle for my talk, having a look round the World Wide Web for some inspiration.

There is lots out there…

The recent event in London sounded really interesting, and was inspired by Steven Johnson’s book of the same name.  I haven’t read the book but I’ve watched these two videos, which I hope are accurate reflections of the argument.

In the first there is a brief summary of his thinking about hunches, half-hunches, collaboration and inclubation.

I agree very strongly with him about the above!  It is obvious, but good ideas need time and they need to be talked about.  We need to give everything time and space to grow.

We are also extremely lucky to be so connected by technology these days – I feel that this makes solving problems much easier.  (Especially since the web has become a wonderful time-saving repository of knowledge, offering more time to spend thinking about things.)

And this is a longer talk where he describes his ‘liquid networks’ theory of innovation in more detail:

What’s exciting about this video is the ensuing discussion in the comments about getting people to work together on problems through the TED platform.  Big brains helping each other.  Could be quite exciting!  (Although I think it is probably already happening.)

Johnson’s argument is very much focused on the environment required for fostering ideas.  The Independent seems to think this is a bad thing.  I have worked in agencies that focused a lot on building a free and creative environment, and some that were more like bog standard offices.  It is more pleasant to work in the wacky, hotdesking, unconventional ones but I don’t think we had particularly better ideas as a result.  However, as long as you don’t think this is the only way of nurturing creative thinking then that’s fine.  You need people who aren’t afraid of saying things that might be wrong or stupid.  You need people who don’t give up.  You need time.  You need coffee…

I’ll post this now, but be prepared for part two as it’s always quite handy to collate some basic source material in one place like this.


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