A Rant Inspired by “Where Good Ideas Come From”

Steven Johnson does a really good job in this video of breaking down where good ideas come from.

“Good ideas normally come from the collision between smaller hunches. So that they form something bigger than themselves. So, you see a lot in the history of innovation, cases where someone has half of an idea.”

This quote kind of sums up the entire basis of what Steven is trying to get at when it comes to innovation and good ideas. It’s when we are able to borrow ideas or hunches from other people that real innovation comes from. It’s when we connect and share our ideas with others and the collision of multiple ideas that bigger and better ideas come from.

Instead we find ourselves in a world where we all want to think that we are the smarter person and we care more about our ideas making money for us. We start to try and take ownership over these “ideas” without realizing all that went into that idea and all of the vast amounts of things that went into that idea making it into your brain. Then we have this other group of people that also want to make money, and these guys have convinced those “idea guys” that we need to hire them so that they can help protect the idea guy’s brilliant ideas.

Now we find ourselves in this world with a seemingly infinite amounts of these stupid and ridiculous patents and copyrights and other legal things that those other guys, that the idea guys hired to protect these brilliant ideas (that really were borrowed and inspired by other people’s ideas). We do this, because we want to trick ourselves into thinking that we are these smart and brilliant people and we deserve to make buckets of money for being so brilliant. We especially want to shield and protect and take ownership of these brilliant ideas when they can help people. Because who wants to help someone if you aren’t going to get some sort of reward? What better reward for helping people, than money? We only want to help people if they are willing to pay us money in exchange for that help.

In reality, the only way we, as humans can continue to grow and progress as a people is to openly embrace sharing ideas with one another.


We find another fictional example of this in the recent film, Arrival. I don’t want to ruin the movie for anyone, but just watch the movie and you should understand what I’m getting at.

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