Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson


Steven Johnson

  Innovation, Startup

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6 places where good ideas by hello mba Shots

Six Principles for Finding Good Ideas

1. The Adjacent Possible:

Steven Johnson points out "Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations”. Tomorrow’s innovations are built from the inventions of today. Everything surrounding us can be combined into something novel.

2. Liquid Networks:

Great ideas come from combined “liquid” networks of individuals. Steven argues that most great inventions and discoveries arise from a group of individuals exchanging various ideas and problems.

3.The slow hunch:

Life-changing ideas usually evolve over time as slow hunches rather than unexpected moments of breakthroughs. Slow hunches stay within the mind where they grow into an idea over time. Liquid networks support such thoughts to be shared around and combined with different hunches.


Dreams can often explore the adjacent possible. Combines several independent ideas and sometimes reveal unique solutions to problems.

Sleeping with a problem has confirmed a positive influence on problem-solving skills. Reading can be used as an exceptional vessel for brewing new ideas. But spreading it over a long period can damage the connections. Bill Gates takes annual reading holidays to read large volumes of content in a short period.

5. Error:

Good ideas arise more from environments with a certain amount of error, which leads to the exploration of the adjacent possible. Errors force us to employ new approaches/strategies and to discard old assumptions, pushing us to develop something unique.

6. Exaptation:

An excellent way to innovate is to take something old, reinvent it and make it reusable again. Ideas are often repurposed too. Attempting to give something old a new use is a great way to come up with good ideas. Like how Johannes Gutenberg based his printing press on the wine screw press, a method that was over 1,000 years old at the time.


















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