Book Review - The Medici Effect - What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation
Got a great book the other day called The Medici Effect: What Elephants & Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation by Frans Johansson. It about what happens when you step into that area called The Intersection...
Part 1 - The Intersection: The Intersection - Your Best Chance To Innovate; The Rise of Intersections
Part 2 - Creating the Medici Effect: Break Down the Barriers Between Fields; How to Make the Barriers Fall; Randomly Combine Concepts; How to Find the Combinations; Ignite an Explosion of Ideas; How to Capture the Explosion
Part 3 - Making Intersectional Ideas Happen: Execute Past Your Failures; How to Succeed in the Face of Failure; Break Out of Your Network; How to Leave the Network Behind; Take Risks and Overcome Fear; How to Adopt a Balanced View of Risk; Step into the Intersection
Notes; Index; About the Author
The Medici Effect is all about the intersection of ideas, cultures, disciplines, and strategies in new and previously unexplored ways. The term comes from the Medici family in Florence Italy in the 15th century. A convergence of thinkers and doers all converged on Florence, which became ground zero for the Renaissance period. New concepts thrived in that environment where people were learning and listening to each other, breaking out of their own fields to combine ideas into revolutionary new areas of study. Johansson asserts (and correctly so, in my opinion) that innovation thrives in these "intersections" that are missed by many, but offer the best chance for breaking away from the "same old thing".
The book is extremely practical, in that all the chapters are driven by real-life examples of these intersectional thinkers. You'll see how Richard Garfield combined the idea of collectables and gaming to come up with the mega-hit card game Magic: The Gathering. The singer Shakira takes musical styles from widely different cultures and combines them into a sound that is all her own (and very popular to boot). Eric Bonabeau studied the activities of ants searching for food and applied the observations to network routing and scheduling. These and many other examples show how being a generalist (or at least open to other fields) can lead to connections not possible for highly specialized thinkers. Johansson lays out steps you can take to place yourself in that constant flow of ideas, so that you can start seeing new possibilities in rather mundane unrelated things.
I was very impressed with this book, and have already started to look at events and ideas in a different light. I'd recommend this read for anyone looking to spur their creativity beyond the norm...
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