2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An intelligent, challenging (and cleverly sold) exploration of the conditions that create dramatic innovation,
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This review is from: The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures (Hardcover)The central notion of the Medici Effect is compelling, useful and inspiring. The book argues that real innovation happens when different cultures, ideas and disciplines come together to spark off new and unprecedented solutions. It also proposes entirely sensible ways of improving the chances of this happening: create environments where people from different backgrounds are encouraged to interact and exchange ideas; try to break away from built-in associations that inform our view of the likely future; encourage radical thinking (try exploring 'reverse' scenarios - a restaurant should have no menus, not charge money for food and/or nor serve food at all: discuss); try to break away from your existing 'value network', because this is set up to encourage and reward success along familiar lines; have as many ideas as possible - great innovators have as many failures as the rest of us, but the sheer profusion of their new ideas greatly increases their chance of having the occasional big success.
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.