E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

The Liquid Network: Where Good Ideas Come From

Gran Canaria - In the SpringDo you happen to have about 18 minutes of your precious busy time, just before you get things going with your weekend (after a hard long week at work) to spare to go ahead and watch one of those TED Talks that will surely keep you thinking for a while on what true innovation is all about? You do? Then you have got to go and watch Steven Johnson‘s Talk on Where Good Ideas Come From. It’s worth the 18 minutes and so much more!

In that rather mind-boggling talk, Steven comes to share a whole bunch of different stories (Yes, he is quite an amazing storyteller, too!) that try to explain how the whole process of coming up with new ideas that would inspire new innovations has never probably been an isolated process, an individual activity, disconnected from everything, and everyone else! Quite the contrary. It’s all part of the hive mind. In fact, his notion that “An Idea Is a Network” is quite provocative on its own, not only because of what it tries to illustrate for all of us, but mainly because it makes perfect sense as well!

If you watch through the entire TED Talk, you would probably realise about something that perhaps may have passed by unnoticed in the past, which is the fact that coming up with ideas, which could spark that next brilliant innovation, is actually a group activity; in fact, it’s a network activity. Your network(s)!

Steven comes to share a couple of stories where he mentions how local cafes might be some of the best places out there (He mentions a couple of other ones along as well) to throw ideas at your partners in crime, converse about them, enrich them, make them better, and come up with the idea by accelerating the process actively participating in those same conversations / discussions. The whole concept of how that physical, face to face contact amongst people provokes the creation of an idea is fascinating on its own. It’s probably something that most of us have sensed already in the past, but that we neglected time and time again, because we just didn’t trust the network good enough.

Well, now, with the emergence of social networking tools as the major drivers of building that trust effectively, we are certainly seeing how plenty of those ideas and innovations are taking place out there in the open where everyone could participate adding their two cents and at at amazingly faster pace, too! While watching the video I got several reminders about the IBM Jams, for instance, or Spigit, for that matter, amongst several others, because when participating in one of those online events, it does resemble that melting pot Steven was referring to where people come together, in this case virtually, through various different areas, environments and backgrounds to just discuss a specific idea and make it better.

And that seems to work time and time again. Steven’s final quote on “Chance favours the collective mind” is probably as descriptive as it can get on how innovation happens. Wired’s recently published article under the title “Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson on Where Ideas Come From“, where both Kevin Kelly and Steven Johnson himself engaged on a rather enlightening and educational conversation, is just another testimony of the inspiration of what you can get from just a conversation on a topic where both parties are passionate about. Yes, in my opinion, true innovation.

The one we should spark and encourage not only within the workplace AND every single business out there, but all over the place as well. In our societies. It’s that kind of innovation that we need to inspire amongst us all, specially in the current times we live in, because somehow I suspect that hived and networked ingenuity is probably the one that is going to help us move into the next stage of who we are: The Liquid Network.

Hope you have enjoyed the TED Talk… I surely did and I already feel inspired! And you?

Have a good one everyone! 😀


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  1. This is indeed a great talk. I’m looking forward to reading the book.

    I had a chance to hear Steven speak on a webinar yesterday, posted my notes on my blog. Good stuff.

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