The importance of hobbies (8 of 10)

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Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter Six: Exaptation of Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From looks at how, both biologically and in human invention, new ideas are often modified, tinkered old ideas. In evolutionary terms, birds’ feathers are an exaptation of what initially served to keep the animal warm. In human invention terms, many new ideas are modified from a previous and well-known invention (e.g. Guttenberg’s printing press from a wine press, Babbage’s computer punch cards from Jacquard’s weaving punch cards).

Many of the inventors in Johnson’s examples had the commonality of  areas of interest outside of their chosen profession that complemented and expanded their thinking. I’ve always felt a twinge of guilt at having interests outside of education, with my inner voice sometimes chiding, “if you were really serious about education, you wouldn’t spend so much time decorating, learning new cooking techniques, collecting American silver, golfing….”

I dismissed that voice by justifying that people need “off” time for good mental health, but I had not considered the perspective of needing these hobbies to inform my chosen profession. I’m still struggling with this idea.

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Can you think of a time when one of your interests outside of education informed or inspired your work in education?
  2. In the workplace, how can we make each other aware of these outside interests to encourage creative discussions and collaboration?

2 responses to “The importance of hobbies (8 of 10)

  • The Evolution of Innovation « Future schooling

    […] Chapter 6 Chapter 7 In the Conclusion: The Fourth Quadrant of Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From, the author creates a quadrant to show the conditions best suited for innovation: Market/Individual, Market/Networked, Non-Market/Individual, and Non-Market/Networked. A fascinating trend emerged, showing that throughout history, different environments were most conducive to innovations that had a profound impact on civilization. Not surprisingly, from 1800 to the present day, non-market/networked environments contained the most innovations: Graphic Interface, GPS, Braille, Radar…just to name a few. In other words, when individuals are part of a networked society and have intellectual freedom to explore, learn, and “dabble,” they tend to be the most innovative. What I really like about this chapter is that it coincides perfectly with some conversations we are having at my workplace for creating such opportunities for employees when a budding idea emerges. As a life-long learner, this is most exciting. I can highly recommend Where Good Ideas Come From to anyone currently thinking about education, social anthropology, and how humans will solve tomorrow’s problems. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted on Tuesday, June 12th, 2012 at 12:11 pm and posted in BookReviews, GoodIdeas. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. « Creating a Cooperative Advantage […]

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