The Innovation Accelerator

Innovation and Coffee

Recently, I wrote about Innovation Lessons from drinking coffee. The post was so popular I turned it into a podcast episode also. I was telling a colleague Suzanne Mercier about this and they said, ‘Have you seen the TED talk about innovation in coffee houses?’ I hadn’t and here it is…

Steven Johnson and Ideas

The TED talk is by Steven Johnson who has written some wonderful books and produced a great TV show about ideas and innovation.

In this video from 2010, he talks about the liquid networks of London’s coffee houses. He suggests that the coffeehouse played a major role in the birth of the Englightment – in part because of the coffee (it meant the locals weren’t drinking alcohol). The real reason was the environment of the coffeehouse fostered conversations that sparked a high level of creativity.

[Tweet “Why Innovation drives more Innovation #innovation”]

The Big Idea

Johnson’s big idea from studying er… ideas is that an idea is not a thing that happens in an isolated or a single moment. It’s less of a Eureka moment and more of a long slow hunch. And, it is the connection and network of ideas that sparks innovation.

The Innovation Accelerator

Now, this big idea easily attaches itself to two of the hottest things on the planet right now.

  1. Your brain – Our brains are literally connectors of ideas. That’s how they work – one synapse connects to the next. And, neuroscience, the study of our brains, is growing at a rapid rate and providing fresh insights into how we think.
  2. The Internet and Social Media – As the name literally suggests the ‘Inter-net’ is also a ‘connection of networks’. And, the ease of connecting with each other is creating millions of modern digital coffee houses and liquid networks. This is sparking numerous conversations and fuelling even more connections and innovations.

Have you stopped to consider why innovation is so hot right now? There are a bunch of forces coming together that are driving innovation at a rapid rate. And, the bottom line is that innovation drives more innovation. The accelerator for innovation is built in. Plus, it’s being fuelled by the network of ideas in our coffee houses, in our brains and on the web.

QUESTION: Have you been bitten by the need and drive to innovation?


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