Peer to Peer Magazine

June 2012

The quarterly publication of the International Legal Technology Association

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book review The Intersection: Powerhouse of Innovation "Everything connects in one way or another. The trick is seeing how things connect and then knowing how to use those connections." —Frans Johansson "The Medici Effect" Enterprises of every kind need creative thinking to power innovation and drive the business forward. Where do groundbreaking ideas come from? Do they arise by sheer happenstance? Are they the province of a special few who have a certain kind of mind? Or can you and I learn where to look for the kinds of insights that open up new territory and generate fresh solutions to real-world problems? Maybe we can't simply decide to wake up tomorrow as a new Leonardo da Vinci, Charles Darwin or Steve Jobs. But we can take steps to situate ourselves where new ideas happen, says Frans Johansson, author of "The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures" (Harvard Business School Press, 2004). What's more, we can master the knack of opening our minds to them — and then work to turn some of them into practical reality. Those three aspects of creativity — forming new connections, cultivating a receptive mind and following through to realization — constitute the basic divisions of Johansson's book. His analysis, liberally illustrated with historical and present- day examples, sparkles with revelations to inspire entrepreneurs at the frontiers of invention. It also offers solid practical tips for everyday problem-solvers. The Intersection The "Intersection" is the place where diverse fields, disciplines and cultures meet. The borderlands between them are fertile ground for the birth of new perceptions. When you bring your knowledge of one art or science into contact with another, you're poised for unexpected discoveries. A glimpse of connections between ideas in different realms can trigger the burst of creativity that leads to innovation. It may even launch entirely new disciplines. One such novel synthesis was the notion of memes, an idea put forward by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book "The Selfish Gene." Uniting concepts from the fields of genetic and cultural evolution, he proposed that the building blocks of culture arise, reproduce, spread and die out just like living matter. His formulation gave birth to the field of memetics and a new way of looking at cultural phenomena. Successive stories of improbable leaps illustrate the generative potency of the Intersection. Connections between fields as disparate as truck routing and social insects in one instance and airlines and the music business in another have yielded high-impact realizations that led to new practices, new products and new solutions. The usual quest for innovation follows a directional pattern, making incremental improvements according to familiar formulas for achieving greater performance or efficiency. This approach, typical of development in a corporate setting, has inherent 96 Peer to Peer

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