I’m halfway through a book called “Where Good Ideas Come From,” by Steven Johnson. The book itself is okay. A lot of it is reviewing progress throughout time as far back as the beginning of time, evolution, through the ages of discovery, Darwin, Tesla, the founders of YouTube or even the telegraph.
It talks about the slowness of the evolutionary process as opposed to the speed of technological and creative development.
It talks about the concept of the Adjacent Possible, which is described as:
… a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself.
The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations.
I love this idea. I pride myself on the idea that I’ve surrounded myself with a network of creativity. I have friends and colleagues that inspire me and I them. It’s wonderful.
The book talks about how cities are a place of creativity exploration (which is EXACTLY why I moved to Chicago). The possibilities are much more available. That’s not to say there aren’t sheep or non-creatives in a city. It just means there are more possibilities to find ways to explore the adjacent possible.
One of my best friends, Bill, single-handledly inspired so much of my growth by openly sharing so much of what he knows and I shared as much as I could with him. If I could nickname him, it would be Adjacent Possible.
Where Good Ideas Comes From explains that timing is symbiotic with growth. The timing must be right. Just like the universe has so-called “perfect timing”. Or evolution needed the exactly right conditions to thrive or YouTube needed the exact timing to become as huge as it has, I needed the right timing and environment to become who I am now and where I’ll go from here.
But this growth explosion wasn’t always the case. Continue reading