Today’s Book of the day is Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas by Richard Ogle, published in 2007 by Harvard Business School Press.

The author of the book, Richard Ogle is an expert educator and consultant, whose activities focus on breakthrough creativity in entrepreneurial organizations. Born and raised in England, he came to the United States in 1968 and was awarded a Ph.D. in linguistics at UCLA in 1974.

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity and the New Science of Ideas

The book is extremely interesting and detailed and shows the interconnection between those, sometimes complex and abstract, elements that brought great leaps of accomplishment, improvement, and breakthroughs in culture, business, science, and art.

Since ancient times, what most people believed has been that the most innovative ideas just popped out from the brains of geniuses, people with extraordinary reasoning and thinking abilities.

Science and research are showing us today that the source of creativity lies in the complex network of connections between people and ideas.

Richard Ogle is bold enough to outline what he calls “a new science of ideas”, that has at its core the concept of “idea-spaces”, a set of key nodes in a network of people and ideas that sums up a series of elements that bring to the creation of breakthrough ideas.
These “idea-spaces”, which are essentially what we would call culture or specific knowledge, are governed by nine laws that are clearly described throughout the book.

For sure, this book permanently changes the way we think about genius and creativity.

Ogle of course owes part of his theory to the famous British philosopher and Professor of Cognitive Philosophy at the University of Sussex, Andy Clark, who talked about how ideas do not just exist in one head, but rather outside the mind, in a sort of collective product of many minds at once, in a specific moment.

Yet, Clark is not the only one talking about this shared creativity: the American urban studies theorist Richard Florida talks about the “3 T’s” of creative cities – Talent, Technology, and Tolerance, elements that make some cities the perfect cradle of creativity.
Swedish–American writer, entrepreneur, and public speaker Frans Johansson speakers, instead, about the intersection” of ideas, concepts, and cultures as the elements that foster creativity in societies of people, the so-called “Medici Effect”.
The Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, dead in 2021, developed the idea that creativity resulted from the flow coming out from the relationships among Domains, Fields, and Persons.

According to Dr. Ogle, creativity comes from the interaction of the “4 I’s” and the 9 laws of creativity.

The `4 I’s’ are Imagination, Intuition, Insight, and Intelligence.

The 9 laws of creativity are:

  1. The Law of Tipping Points
  2. The Law of the Fit get Rich
  3. The Law of the Fit get Fitter
  4. The Law of Spontaneous Generation
  5. The Law of Navigation
  6. The Law of Hotspots
  7. The Law of Small-World Networks
  8. The Law of Integration
  9. The Law of Minimal Effort

I absolutely recommend this book, as it’s an excellent source of stimulating ideas.


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