Steven Johnson has just released his provocative new book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. He thinks good ideas are the product of thinking long-term about something, not a brilliant flash of insight, and that good ideas are the synthesis of multiple hunches that collide: your own with your own, and your own with those of other people.
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Johnson also points out the importance of our environment: how we borrow and react to others’ ideas, and how we connect with on another. For example, he discusses the importance of coffee houses and salons in the development of the Enlightenment in eighteenth-century France, and he singles out the Internet and how the current high degree of digital interaction allows the free flowing exchange and improvement of ideas.
How do you get your best ideas? Do they come in an instant or slowly over time? How important have interactions with others been in the development of your ideas?