Wrapping up Reef, City, Web with a Kumbaya

You now know the what the Reef, City, and Web have in common: they are environments which facilitate the rapid creation, diffusion, and adoption of ideas. You have some sense of why, but you’re more curious than knowledgeable at this point. That will change as you read on and grow into a fully-fledged nerd about “Where Good Ideas Come From.”

So let’s wrap up this chapter as Johnson does, with a comment about what might be the “single maxim that runs through this book’s arguments.” What’s that common thread? CONNECT IDEAS. Bring ideas together. Make one idea say to another idea “You complete me.” And then the other idea can say “You had me hello.”

Who would argue against this? Johnson contrasts his maxim with another competing idea: competition. (See what I did there?) Competition is lauded by some as being an engine of innovation. Let ideas compete with each other and the strongest will survive. That’s a good strategy in some instances, but Johnson makes a compelling argument that ideas “want to complete each other as much as they want to compete.”

Create networks that foster ideas, and then let your ideas run free with one another. Kumbaya.