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Where Good Ideas Come From

The phrase “Edge of Chaos” that we’re using for our experiment in innovation comes from Steven Johnson’s book, Where Good Ideas Come From.  He suggests that the place you need to get to, the place where ideas can collide in productive and innovative ways, is right on the edge of chaos.

I’ve been following Johnson’s work since his book The Ghost Map: The Story of London’s Most Terrifying Epidemic—and How it Changed Science, Cities and the Modern World back in 2006.  He’s an engaging, insightful writer, as well as being a great speaker (by a fine coincidence of timing, he was the keynote speaker at the Medical Library Association conference in Seattle last May).

Here’s a YouTube video that he did outlining the ideas he explores in Where Good Ideas Come From, and here’s a link to a TED talk he did on the subject.  His website is also worth checking out, and gives some info on his newest book, Future Perfect.

Johnson will be in Birmingham in October for our Grand Opening.  More details on that will be coming soon.

T. Scott Plutchak

Interim Director, The Edge of Chaos