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The Medici Effect, Frans Johansson

"The idea behind this book is simple: When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas."


"For most of us, the best chance to innovate lies at the Intersection. Not only do we have a greater chance of finding remarkable idea combinations there, we will also find many more of them. To be specific, stepping into the Intersection does not mean simply combining two different concepts into a new idea. These types of combinations are part of both directional and intersectional innovation. Instead, the Intersection represents a place that drastically increases the chances for unusual combinations to occur."

p. 20

"A person with low associative barriers, on the other hand, may think to connect ideas or concepts that have very little basis in past experience, or that cannot easily be traced logically. Therefore, such ideas are often met with resistance and sentiments such as, "If this is such a good idea, someone else would have thought of it." But that is precisely what someone else would not have done, because the connection between the two concepts is not obvious."

p. 41

"Just because someone has developed a groundbreaking idea once does not necessarily mean that he or she has a better chance of doing it again. Instead, the best way to beat the odds is to continually produce ideas. This is why innovators are so productive."

p. 97

"But what about jobs where success depends on a steady output of new ideas? Those where trial and experimentation are part of the job description? This is trickier. It still seems like a good idea to reward success. But is it enough to reward success and let the failures "slide"? Would we then be willing to risk failure, and therefore increase our odds of innovating in the long term? Maybe. But the best results would come in an environment where success and failure are rewarded equally--and where inaction is punished."

p. 128

"It is not that the network is holding you back on purpose. There is no conspiracy. But your network will promote, support, and highlight ideas that are valued within it. And it squashes or removes ideas that are not. This inherent characteristic creates a difficult paradox for anyone pursuing an intersectional idea: If we wish to succeed at the intersection of fields, we have to break away from the very networks that made us successful."

p. 146

"Take a good look around you and try to spot those things that have become critical pieces of your value network over the years. I am not suggesting that you abandon them, but if you wish to enter the Intersection, you must stop depending on them."

p. 157

"It is not that we waste time, money, or contacts, but that we try to do more with the amount that we have. In trying to do more, we slowly begin to increase the risk of failure, until we hit a level we are subconsciously comfortable with.

What this tells us is that, from a failure perspective, it will not ultimately matter much when you decide to stop into the Intersection. Once you have achieved a threshold level of resources, what Berke calls "the minimum amount needed to get your idea going," you should start exploring the Intersection."

p. 168

"The most creative and innovative people in the world also produce the most ideas. Think Picasso, Einstein, or Prince. They produced seminal works in their fields, but also produced works that went absolutely nowhere."

p. 209

"Be strategic, but flexible, and remember to have fun."

p. 217

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