The Medici Effect and Open Innovation

You don’t have to look far to find a scholarly article on the “Renaissance” and the 300 years of renewal and innovation that occurred almost 600 years ago. Some argue that this period of learning started with the emergence of coffee drinking in Europe (‘the awakening’). Others see the beginnings of the Renaissance starting with a new complex mix of cultures and religions. There is significant evidence to show that the Renaissance began with the coming together of minds in the city of Florence, Italy after the effects of the Plague left the city with a population of approximately 50,000 people.

In the 1400’s Italy’s ruling family, the Medici family, decided to bring together a collaboration of creative minds including artists, inventors, sculptors, scientists and philosophers and painters to come up with new and exciting ideas for innovation. Dozens of disruptive innovations spread throughout the world during this time, including:

  • indoor plumbing and flushing toilets,
  • the printing press,
  • clocks,
  • the microscope,
  • eyeglasses and
  • surgical instruments.

The period of innovation that resulted from the bringing together of minds later become known as the Medici Effect.

Today’s imperative for innovation see’s us once more learning from history. The Medici Effect provides us with the learnings from history that prove the effect that collaboration and open innovation can have, not only for the invention of products but also around the development of new and exciting social services.

By bring together talented people from a wide variety of fields, ethnicities and disciplines to work together and cross fertilise new ideas, we create solutions to problems that we may not have conceived otherwise. Creating a space that is conducive to innovation means looking inside and outside your existing organization for new types of partnerships. History shows that many great things come about through partnerships and collaboration.

Why not give it a try?

Julie Beckers

Julie is the Principal Innovation Architect at Innovation Creation. Find out more at