Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Berlin Johnson at South by Southwest in...
Steven Berlin Johnson at SXSW 2008 (via Wikipedia)

On November 2nd I will be chairing a free event in London about creativity and innovation.  Steven Johnson, best-selling nonfiction author of Mind Wide Open and Everything Bad is Good for You will be presenting his latest book, Where Good Ideas Come From: A Natural History of Innovation.

I am super excited to meet Steven Johnson, whose writings have inspired my own thinking about how technology is shaping the future of human creativity. He’s been one of my modern intellectual role models since I read his 2005 post and New York Times Book Review essay about how he uses DevonThink to mine his past creative ideas and prior research and to write books (more on that below*). I love the sophisticated and far-reaching way that SBJ analyzes and predicts how emerging tools, innovations, and trends will impact human behavior.

In Johnson’s newest book he identifies the key principles to the genesis of great ideas, from cultivating hunches to exploiting connectivity and new technologies. By recognising where and how patterns of creativity occur – whether within a school, a software platform or a social movement – he shows how we can make more of our ideas good ones.  The book is rich and insightful, drawing from a broad range of disciplines like the history of technology, biological evolution, social psychology, and the philosophy of science.

book cover, Where Good Ideas Come From

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From
An LSE Department of Management public lecture chaired by Dr Caneel Joyce
: Tue 2 Nov 2010, 6.30-8pm
Where: Sheikh Zayed Theatre, Lower floor, New Academic Building (map) (Tube: Holborn or Temple)
Queries: Email events@lse.ac.uk or call 020 7955 6043.

This event is free and open to all – no ticket required. Feel free to contact me if you are thinking of coming. Seating is first-come first-served so plan to arrive early.

*Btw if you use DevonThink – or have been too overwhelmed/intimidated to stick with it – he offers some characteristically clever and concrete recommendations for harnessing its artificial intelligence, such as limiting each text entry to around 500 words. Few have been as explicit and pragmatic in their instruction of using this tool – SBJ goes into exactly why DevonThink is useful for a specific purpose, and how the user must behave to get the most out of it. Check out his blog post and NYTimes essay for the specifics and be grateful for a creator who is willing to share his process!

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6 Replies to “Where Good Ideas Come From”

  1. I just started reading his book. I’m on the lookout for practical suggestions that I can transform into experimental studies which I could run with my stable of 22,000 guinea pigs.

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