November 1, 2004
Excerpts: The Medici Effect - Part I
The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, & Cultures by Frans Johansson Harvard Business School Press - October 2004 200 Pages - ISBN 1591391865 Summary: Enter Innovation's Most Fertile Breeding Ground Why is it that so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin, after all, was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who finally explained what happened to the dinosaurs. Frans Johansson argues that breakthrough ideas most often occur when we bring concepts from one field into new, unfamiliar territory. In this space-which Johansson calls "the Intersection"-established ideas clash and combine with insights from other fields, disciplines, and cultures, resulting in an explosion of totally new ideas. The Medici Effect-referring to a remarkable burst of creativity in Florence during the Renaissance -shows us how to get to the Intersection and how we can turn the ideas we discover there into pathbreaking innovations. From the insight that created the first Cherokee written language to the ideas that enabled scientists to read the mind of a monkey-The Medici Effect is filled with vivid stories of intersections across domains as diverse as business, science, art, and politics. Johansson reveals the core principles-including breaking down associative barriers, routinely combining unlike concepts, and executing past your failures-that can enable individuals, teams, and entire organizations to create their own "Medici effects" in any arena of work and life. Fran Johansson is a writer, consultant, and entrepreneur residing in New York City.