Innovation is running rampant these days. That’s why we’re seeing so many startups launching and so many acquisitions from bigger companies happening. The good ones come from good ideas, and everybody’s rushing to have the next great idea. But where do these ideas come from? How do they get started?
Steven Berlin Johnson, Author of "Where Good Ideas Come From" and Chairman and co-Founder of local startup Outside.in, had some inspirational things to say on the matter. For one, ideas come from hunches, and it’s crucial that you surround yourself in environments where such hunches can thrive.
You might check out his book if you want to see examples throughout history, but getting right to the point, think about Google and their 20% time. Think about Facebook’s casual working environment. These are two of the most innovative companies on the web, and they give their employees environments that cater to constant innovation.
Beyond the actual work environment, the tools are clearly there to spark innovation. "The web has obviously been an extraordinary engine of innovation," said Johnson. "The web is an open platform….It’s the openness of the space that makes all these new forms of connection and innovation possible."
Another part of it is not closing this openness off. "We need to recognize the value in connecting ideas and not just protecting ideas," he said, adding that all the intellectual property law kind of stuff is basically the equivalent of paying an "innovation tax."
One more piece of great advice that Johnson offered was to associate with a diverse group of people. This means not just people in your own industry. While it’s certainly a good idea to get involved with the people within your own niche, innovation can be sparked from seeing things from the points of view from a much broader group.
One easy way to do this is follow people in different fields on Twitter, Facebook, etc.