November 1, 2004
News & Opinion: The Medici Effect
How does a 24-year-old chef in less than three months turn a one-star restaurant in New York City into a three-star international sensation? How does a single inventor overturn the entire world standard for air and sea traffic navigation? What is the connection between goat milk, spider silk and fishing lines? And how does all this connect with what Orit Gadiesh, Chairman of Bain Consulting, described as the core reason for her firms success? The answer can be found at the intersection of disciplines and cultures - a place where creativity and innovation are vibrant and alive. This book is about how to get there. First Id like to thank Todd and Jack for hosting The Medici Effect. Todd has asked me to introduce a string of excerpts to the book and I certainly hope you will enjoy them. The Medici Effect says that we have the best chance of developing new ideas when we find ways to combine different fields or cultures. I call the place between fields and cultures the Intersection and I call the explosion of new ideas that we can generate and execute there the Medici Effect, referring to the remarkable burst of creativity we saw during the Renaissance era. The book explains how we can create an exponential increase of groundbreaking ideas at the Intersection (literally). It then looks at what we specifically have to do to make such intersectional ideas happen - giving a fresh perspective on things such as risk management, how to deal with failures and how to break away from established networks. It draws from decades of research in psychology, sociology and management theory as well as numerous interviews I have made with individuals and teams that operate at the intersection of different disciplines or cultures in business, science, art and policy-making. You will , for instance, learn what termites and groundbreaking architecture have in common, how the Cherokee written language was created, and how a diverse team managed to read the mind of monkey. You will explore amazing recipes by one of the worlds most innovative chefs and learn how a fashion designer was inspired by the myth of the Chimera! The excerpts you will read throughout this week come from chapter 5. It details how Richard Garfield got the insight to the game Magic and is a set-up to discuss the nature of intersectional insights.