what’s in the innovator’s cookbook?

(Video link.) We’re excited for Steven Johnson’s new book, The Innovator’s Cookbook: Essentials for Inventing What Is Next. It looks like he has called upon an all-star cast of innovators and researchers to discuss what makes for successful innovation. In the video, he gives away some important parts of the recipe: We like being instructed to “lose our bearings” in order to be open to new ideas. But we really love his story about music producer Brian Eno forcing band members to switch instruments in the studio to keep their music fresh and encourage new sounds. …And the practice of starting brainstorming sessions with a “show-and-tell” of recently discovered ideas – even seemingly unrelated ones.

The tenets of innovation presented here sound very similar to Joshua Foer’s rules for becoming an expert. It seems that experience and research both show that forcing yourself out of your comfort zone and taking risks is integral to building new skills and finding success in new projects. So it’s not all just a hunch of ours!

Johnson is also the man behind Where Good Ideas Come From, which we find ourselves returning to often (perfect bathroom reading: you can open it anywhere.)

Related posts: steven johnson on cultivating good ideas (daily)
‘where good ideas come from’
tool for improvising: defer judgment
making it up as you go along (seth godin + jackson pollock)
brian eno on ‘structuring ideas’ in improvising

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