The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson
Breakthrough Insights at the intersection of ideas, Concepts and cultures.
When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts, into a large number of extraordinary new ideas. The name I have given this phenomenon, the Medici Effect, comes from a remarkable burst of creativity in 1th century Italy.
For an original idea to be creative, it must also have some measure of relevance. it must be valuable. Mihaly Csikzentmihalyi said, “There is no way to know whether a thought is new concept with reference to some standards, and there is way to tell whether it is valuable until it passes social evaluation”.
When the Latin American artist Shakira made her US debut with the album laundry service, she shot to the top of the charts. Her music has been unusual even in her home country of Colombia. Her father is Lebanese, and her song combined Arabic and Latin sounds into ‘a distinctive blend of pop and rock unlike anything being done by Columbian singers at the time. She managed to take this innovative music and intersect it with American tunes.
Breaking down our associative barriers is the first challenge we face in our search for the intersection. People who done it so, did one of the following things:
· Exposed themselves to a range of cultures
· Learned differently
· Reversed their assumptions
· Took on multiple perspectives
By learning fields and disciplines on our own we have a greater chance of approaching them from a different perspective. Assumption reversals are a remarkably effective way to challenge the way you think about almost anything. This is assumption reversal work:
· First think of a situation or concept related to a challenge you are facing and think about the assumption associated with that situation.
· Next, write down those assumptions; then reverse them
· Finally think about how to make those reversals meaningful.
The other method is think different perspectives. Leonardo da Vinci believed that in order to fully understand something one needed to view it from at least three different perspectives.
Other couples of suggestions are
· Apply the idea to someone or something else
· Create constraints
Following are some of the best ways to find combinations:
· By diversifying occupations
· By interacting with diverse groups of people
· By going intersection hunting
Linus Pauling once said, “The best way to get a good idea is to have lots of ideas”.
· There are at least three ways to proceed:
· Strike a balance between depth and breadth
· Actively generate many ideas
· Allow time for evaluation
Then do the following
· Produce as many ideas as possible
· Produce ideas as wild as possible
· Build upon each others ideas
· Avoid passing judgment on ideas
Most of us have a desire to connect ideas and concepts from our disparate backgrounds. So why not actively seek out these connections?