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.