“To make your mind more innovative, you have to place it inside environments that share the same network signature: networks of ideas or people that mimic the neutral networks of a mind exploring the boundaries of the adjacent possible.” – Johnson (47)
Ideas, in my mind, are like babies. They must be incubated, nurtured, and talked about. One person coming up with a great idea without any sort of advice, adjustments, or critiquing, is almost unheard of. When a great idea comes to mind, it only makes sense to put it to the test and see what type of response its gets from your peers. The people in these liquid networks are what elevate mediocre ideas into great ideas. These networks provide a platform where ideas can be edited and enhanced in an intellectually competent environment. Liquid networks push individuals to think on another level and get advice to further develop these ideas. Whether it be a laboratory or a coffee shop, liquid networks positively contribute to idea development. Its almost hard to imagine a scenario where networks wouldn’t contribute to the development of an idea. These networks are what allow ideas to develop and mature, while maybe inspiring new ideas in the process.
“If we’re going to try to explain the mystery of where ideas come from, we’ll have to start by shaking ourselves free of this common misconception: an idea is not a single thing. It is more like a swarm” (Johnson, 45-46).
This sentence is important for us to understand. We as society tend to overlook the smaller details in the bigger picture. That is how we miss those moments where the smaller details actually mean the most. However, this is still a hard thing to do because we have so many things on our mind, I feel as if it is hard to interpret with all those ideas in our heads are actually ideas or just random thoughts. Although this may be the case, I’m kind of steering towards thinking that maybe all our thoughts in our head are all ideas, it just depends how you use those ideas in your life. You can choose to use it to benefit people, or just not use it at all and put it in the back of your mind. All and all, we must understand that an idea is not a single thing and that it is more like a swarm because everyday we are learning and seeing new things, which makes us produce many ideas everyday.
“All the attempted assaults occurred in the same complex: there was a good chance the man was local, and if so, it was only a matter of time before he struck again.
Chaput, however, was unaware of this series of attacks.” -Weinberg, pg 21
When I saw this, I was immediately reminded of the chapter of Johnson’s book that discussed hunches, specifically the narrative regarding the 9/11 hunches, how if those two ideas could have managed to connect before September 11th, maybe the attacks could have been prevented.
We don’t yet know if the assaults in the book are related, but if they are, surely the various cases could be solved much sooner if the police departments could work together, searching for a single suspect. It just goes to show how valuable liquid networks and the free exchange of ideas really are.
Cities, then, are environments that are ripe for exaptation, because they cultivate specialized skills and interests, and they create a liquid network where information can leak out of those subcultures, and influence their neighbors in surprising ways. -Johnson 162
Are suburbs or more rural communities also suited for exaptation? I grew up in both Georgia and Delaware, two very rural and idle communities. I believe that we have liquid networks there as well, in the form of more personal relationships than people would have in a huge city. Though I have never lived in a bustling, such as NYC, I couldn’t imagine that its chaotic environment and its seemingly infinite number of residents could produce more exaptations than in a more personal and settled community.
One of my personal philosophies is “everything in moderation”: I try to find a balance at which I can enjoy everything life throws at me, by not being too extremely inclined toward an idea or thing that I cannot consider the other options. For example, dieting is good and I try to eat healthy, but overdoing it by eating almost nothing of substance would ultimately harm me (as would eating only fatty junk foods). It seems that liquid networks work because they have a moderate amount of order; suffocating corporate environments create too little communication while TBWA/Chiat/Day’s “non-territorial” offices led to too much freedom and were a failure. Liquid networks form because of a supervisor moderating the control they have over the network, keeping enough order to keep things flowing but enough open space to stimulate conversation, creativity, and, ultimately, the growth of ideas. I think that I already employ liquid networks in my life, and I hope that others find ways to incorporate them into theirs
“A new idea is a network of cells exploring the adjacent possible of connections that they make in your mind”(Johnson,45).
This chapter talked about how when numerous minds are put together, they create a network. What stuck out to me in this section was the evolution of human innovation. What is stunning, and something that i never considered is the fact that when more people are put together, The more innovations and inventions are created. By the times cities were built, the creation of modern irrigation and structure was created, whereas in aboriginal times, when people were scattered barely anything was created. The same can be applied to today with the worldwide web, having ourselves even more connected than just 10 years ago can lead to more innovations than imaginable.
“Silicon sits directly below carbon on the periodic table, and shares its four valence electronics . But silicon lacks carbon’s unique versatility.” pg. 50
I was interested in silicon when it was brought up in Chapter Two: Liquid Networks because I did not know much about it so I decided to do some research about it.Silicons atomic number is 14 and symbol is Si. Silicon may lack some qualities that Carbon has but silicon paired with other elements is beneficial and widely used in electronics. For example when silicon is paired with aluminum, large metallic parts can be manufactured. Silicon and aluminum creates a good fluidity balance so it can create parts with different types of shape and consistency. Silicon can also be used as a conductor when mixed with small amounts of elements such as boron. I am happy I looked into silicon because I learned so much information I did not know. Check out the link below for some cool facts!
This website discusses how amazing silicon is in our electronics
“Without the generative links of carbon, the earth would have likely remained a lifeless soup of elements, a planet of dead chemistry,” (page 49). I thought it was interesting to ponder if if this was the actual case, or if earth could have still have began sustaining from another element. Could this have been possible? Or would earth still be a lifeless soup of elements without carbon.
“Liquid networks create an environment where those partial ideas can connect; they provide a kind of dating service for promising hunches. They make it easier to disseminate good ideas, of course, but they also do something more sublime: they help complete ideas” (Johnson, 75).
I found this quote very insightful. I never really thought of liquid networks in this sense, but I understand where Johnson is coming from. Not all good ideas are created in one swift motion. Often, they require outside knowledge to be complete. I think we can all relate to this on the educational level. We have all been apart of group work before whether we enjoyed it or not. I would consider group work to be a type of liquid network. When working with a group of students, coming up with good ideas is more efficient since there are more minds working together. Ideas and “hunches” are able to be bounced off of one another. By the end of the work/project, such idea and “hunches” finally come to together.
We recently discussed different types of learning environments in my Media Ethics class. My professor proposed the idea that the act of working alone allows the mind to wander. She explained how research indicates that our spontaneously technological lives are dampening our creativity. My professor would most likely argue against the quote above. She believes that working alone allows for the greatest ideas to truly develop, and that other people, and even technology, are nothing but distractions.
“The Web arose as the answer to an open challenge, through the swirling together of influences, ideas, and realizations from many sides, until, by the wondrous offices of the human mind, a new concept jelled. It was a process of accretion, not the linear solving of one problem after another” – Berners-Lee (Johnson 90)
The formal definition of accretion is: “The process of growth or increase, typically by the gradual accumulation of additional layers or matter.” I think this quote from Tim Berners-Lee- the creator of the World Wide Web- outlines Johnson’s liquid network idea perfectly, as well as gives a concrete example. The web as a creation of Berners-Lee did not form from some ingenious spark or eureka moment in his mind. Rather, his idea started from the time he was a child and developed throughout his life, finally culminating from his environment and influences. Johnson argues for something similar in his liquid network. He says that great ideas, even though we tend to think they are some spark of intuition, come from different layers adding up, or different doors opening. Many doors must be opened, as different doors lead to even more different doors. There is never “one” door that leads to innovation. In Berners-Lee’s case, it was a process of opening many doors, while still remembering, connecting, and building upon what was seen through other doors..
“No doubt some ingenious hunter-gatherer stumbled across the cleansing properties of ashes mixed with animal fat, or dreamed of building aqueducts in those long eons before the rise of cities, and we simply have no record of his epiphany”- Johnson 54
This way this quote is worded makes me wonder about the nature of innovation. Is it fair to assume that a hunter-gatherer simply “stumbled” upon the discovery of mixing ashes and animal fat? Is it possible that he was actually looking for something or experimenting? It also relates to Johnson’s other point of the connection between the concentration of people and the rise of ideas. Was the hunter-gatherer who came across revolutionary ideas simply ingenious or ahead of his time, seeing that he had not city environment to foster his creativity and he came up with the ideas on his own? If this is true, I think that it also applies to many great minds of the modern era, such as Einstein, who seemed to be in a world of his own intuition when it came to new or revolutionary ideas. Yet, I’m sure there are those who would argue that he was equally a product of his environment, upbringing, etc.
In the “Liquid Network” chapter, Johnson analyzes how we can push ourselves to think more creatively. He writes, “The answer, as it happens, is delightfully fractal: to make your mind more innovative, you have to place it inside environments that share that same network signature: networks of ideas or people that mimic neural networks of a mind exploring the boundaries of the adjacent possible.” (Johnson, 47)
I reread this statement a few times and realized that I was a prime example of this: While at school, I work so much more efficiently. I manage myself, my time, and my work more effectively than I ever did while living at home. And when I work, whether it is in writing or designing, I can generate better ideas.
Much of that has to do with the campus environment. The people I’ve met here think the same way that I do, so when I explain ideas to them, they understand and help me develop them further than I could have on my own. I also have the opportunity to connect with people in my major. So when I need help with design layouts or revising an essay, I can talk to someone who is equally interested in that subject and at my level of study.
Therefore, this quote is accurate. People who think alike can develop more together.
Double-entry accounting made it far easier to keep track of what you owned, but no one owned double-entry accounting itself. The idea was too powerful not to spill over into other nearby minds (Johnson 57).
I found this point from chapter 2 to be the most interesting, mostly because I have never thought of an idea spilling over. I usually think of an idea as something one person thinks of and is able to patent. This is also the first time of thinking of how powerful an idea is, and what this means for the magnitude of people that it will “spill over” into and effect.
“Good ideas are like the NeoNurture device. They are, inevitably, constrained by the parts and skills that surround them”(Johnson 28).
I think this is extremely interesting and furthermore relative to everyday life. In order to improve something, for example bad behavior, you must surround yourself with better people and things in order to succeed. This is relative to some of the ideas included in the adjacent possible, for example it is mentioned that for ideas to bloom, it is vital that the environment and people you are surrounded by must have a similar goal as you. If you are trying to find a cure for cancer, it is best for you to be surrounded by people that wish to do the same, not people with goals that oppose or differ from yours.