July 18, 2013

Combinatorial creativity and networked knowledge

I recently started digging into the concepts of remix culture and combinatorial creativity, concepts introduced to me by Maria Popova on Brainpickings. She's effectively managed to give expression, in plain English, to the suspicions I've been mulling over as I consider the creative process and how ideas and end-products come to completion. This is my second post on this theme, my first being here.

Today I want to sketch and push things out; and to try and get my head around the two concepts in the title. Over to Maria writing here:
"The idea that in order for us to truly create and contribute to the world, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these pieces and build new castles.
Kind of LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our castles will become. Because if we only have one color and one shape, it greatly limits how much we can create, even within our one area of expertise. 
Einstein famously attributed some of his greatest physics breakthroughs to his violin breaks, which he believed connected different parts of his brain in new ways."
Maria then referred to another great creative mind who has contributed to the discussion:
'In 2010 Steven Johnson writes in his excellent Where Good Ideas Come From:'
"The great driver of scientific and technological innovation [in the last 600 years has been] the increase in our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people, and to borrow other people’s hunches and combine them with our hunches and turn them into something new.”
Maria then adds:
"I like to think of it this way: We take information, from it synthesize insight, which in turn germinates ideas."
Maria in full here.

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