Steven Johnson’s new book, Where Good Ideas Come From, is one that all of us in the toy and play industries will want to read. The book makes the case that innovative ideas do not come so much from brilliant or lucky people but from interconnected environments that encourage innovation.
There is an excellent review of the book in the New York Times by Nancy F. Koehn. Here is a quote that will give you a flavor of why reading this book is important:
All viable new ideas owe a great debt not only to the insights of the people who first bring them out of the ether but also to a vast body of other ideas that are circulating, often randomly, at any moment.
Given the premise that innovation thrives “when ideas can serendipitously connect and recombine with other ideas,” Mr. Johnson writes, it is a strange fact “that a great deal of the past two centuries of legal and folk wisdom about innovation has pursued the exact opposite argument, building walls between ideas.” [Bolding is mine]
Does the toy industry provide an environment for innovation? That in my next posting.