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The Medici Effect: What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation Paperback – October 1, 2006
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About the Author
- ASIN : 1422102823
- Publisher : Harvard Business School Press (October 1, 2006)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 207 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9781422102824
- ISBN-13 : 978-1422102824
- Item Weight : 9 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.25 x 0.75 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #348,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Top reviews from the United States
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The book is well organized and well written, with a diverse range of fascinating examples to illustrate the concepts, and therefore the book is easy and enjoyable to read.
To be sure, the book and the concept have some limitations, as other reviewers have pointed out. In particular, (a) Johansson has not provided every "how to" detail related to implementing the concepts, (b) intersection won't always work, especially if subtleties in its implementation are missed, and indeed (c) there are some circumstances where constraints make creativity and innovation essentially impossible and sometimes even undesirable, with standard solutions being more appropriate instead.
But this is a book which should be judged by what it offers, not by what it lacks, and it certainly offers a lot of valuable insights on a fundamentally important topic.
Highly recommended for people seeking to be creative and innovative, for parents thinking about their children's education and careers, and for those with a general interest in education and personal development. This book has certainly inspired me to try harder to seek intersectional ways to make use of my own diverse background and interests.
johansson contends that this kind of innovation is rare, and never substantial when it happens. we're too locked into our modes of thinking, and we put up barriers to potentially innovative influences from outside the field (because they're seen as a threat or a distraction).
the second kind of innovation is intersectional. it's the stuff that comes from the intersection of two different fields of study or bodies of knowledge. this is where - the author contends - all deep and significant innovation occurs. johansson gives dozens of helpful illustrations -- like, how a knowledge of the feeding patterns of african ants helped inform truck drivers trying to find the quickest route through the swiss alps at any given time.
anyone interested in being innovative should read this book. it's a great book for a team read and discussion.
Top reviews from other countries
Johansson gives several examples of innovators who pulled together apparently unrelated threads of thought into one new radical solution - a telecommunications engineer becomes intrigued by the biological systems that allow a colony of insects to find the most efficient route to a source of food; he leaves his job to study insects and develops a brilliant new routing solution for information technology.
The Medici Effect encourages us to break away from our entrenched ways of thinking to look for the genuinely radical solutions that may change our lives. It reminds us that the greatest breakthroughs in most fields have been made by people who see things with fresh eyes.
Johanssen possibly oversells his ideas with some (entirely understandable and successful) marketing hype. The book is called The Medici Effect because renaissance Florence, governed in effect by the wealthy Medici banking family, produced a great flourishing of ideas brought about - so the theory goes - by the bringing together of brilliant people in many spheres of art, culture and enterprise. Well yes, but political stability, wealth and patronage also had a great deal to do with it.
Johanssen has turned his big idea into what is, in effect, a brand: the Intersection - an idea (or is it a place?) so significant that it has its own capital letter. And some of the examples given are perhaps not good examples of the Intersection after all, but might rather reflect good, old-fashioned 1+1=2 kind of thinking. Like the medic who realised that the young man whose knife wound she had just stitched up was leaving the emergency ward in search of revenge. Should heath care operatives get involved in violence prevention? The medic in question drove through the structural changes to join up medicine and policing, which colleagues believed were different disciplines. It's impressive - but is it really the Intersection?
Calling an anlaysis the Intersection or The Medici Effect doesn't necessarily make it any more real or usable - but, then again, what the hell? A clever piece of writing with real substance at its heart, The Medici Effect deserves its success.
The Medici Effect is a major bedrock for interdisciplinary education as leaders are going to have to discover new lenses and frameworks to confront our problems if there is going to be a sustainable future.
The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures is a book that needs to be studied Post-Coronavirus. I am a high school teacher and I teach students who were born after 9/11 and inherited this mess. Studying this book, globally, will begin the healing.
At the very outset, the author identifies two types of ideas- directional and intersectional, where the former are born out of investigation into a single discipline, while latter emerge from intersection of disparate disciplines. He argues that intersectional ideas are often both novel and useful, and also plenty in number.
According to the author, the rise of intersections is a result of three concurrent forces- massive movement of people, convergence of science, and the leap of computation and communication. He cites several developments, both in science and business, to highlight that solo creations are increasingly rare.
For the people who live at the intersection, one of their chief traits is their ability to overcome associative barriers, and subsequently engage in divergent thinking. They do so by exposing themselves to different cultures, learning differently or mostly self-learning, reversing assumptions, and trying on different perspectives. Such people often exhibit diversifying professions, interact with a diverse group of people, and consciously go about intersection hunting.
The beauty of intersections it that one could be exposed to a volume of ideas there, at least theoretically, and then one needs to pick up the appropriate ideas. This calls for striking a balance between depth and breadth, actively generating many ideas, and allowing for time for evaluation. Further, the author impresses on the fact that, just as in nature, quality comes out of quantity, and hence, go for quantity when it comes to ideas.