Where do good ideas come from? (part 2)

Yesterday we asked Where do good ideas come from? … and this morning at Barnes & Noble, on the New Releases table, we discovered this book:

Perfect timing! Thank you, Steven Johnson.

Thanks too for eloquently describing an idea and social dynamic that has informed Society Matters since our launch last year: National Geographic can pull out of its nosedive if it taps the energy, creativity, ideas, and passion of its existing network of members — more than 4 million strong.

Or, in Mr. Johnson’s words: “Chance favors the connected mind.”

After watching the book’s video trailer (below), we wondered: Which innovation incubator has a better shot at generating some worthwhile ideas? The National Geographic “brainstorm” we described yesterday — or the NPR/PBS un-conference?

  • The NGS sessions will take place behind closed doors; the NPR event unfolds in public at a university.
  • The NGS sessions are restricted to staff; the NPR event welcomes “public media staff and enthusiasts.”
  • The NGS sessions require potential participants to dream up a new idea before they’re invited to attend; the NPR event doesn’t.
  • The NGS sessions will no doubt be confidential; the NPR event will be “on the record; blogging, podcasting, and tweeting are strongly encouraged.”

“The great driver of innovation,” Johnson says, “has been the historic increase in connectivity, in our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people.”

If so, then why are the conversations about our Society’s future happening behind closed doors?


Any thoughts, John Fahey? Tim Kelly? Robert Michael Murray? If so, please feel free to share them in the comments, below.

NO NEW POSTS will be published here after February 6, 2014. THIS IS WHY.