Monday, December 13, 2010

Coral reef as metaphor for innovation environ, including universities

In Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, Steven Johnson draws on seven centuries of scientific and technological progress, from Gutenberg to GPS, to show what sorts of environments nurture ingenuity.

He finds that great creative milieus are like coral reefs – whether MIT or Los Alamos, New York City or the World Wide Web – teeming, diverse colonies of creators who interact with and influence one another.

The coral reef as a metaphor for where innovation comes from leads him to offer other examples of the most reeflike places in the technological realm.
  • One, not surprisingly, is Twitter—not to see what people are having for breakfast, of course, but to see what people are talking about, the links to articles and posts that they’re passing along.
  • Second, and maybe less predictable, is the university system. “As much as we sometimes roll our eyes at the ivory-tower isolation of universities, they continue to serve as remarkable engines of innovation,” he says.
We at Stinson Brand Innovation are glad to be a part of that “coral reef” helping connect researchers at universities with companies who can bring their discoveries to market.

Click here to read more on his blog.

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