Summary of Need a New Idea? Start at the Edge of What Is Known

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Need a New Idea? Start at the Edge of What Is Known summary


8 Overall

8 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Physicist Vittorio Loreto explores the notion of Stuart Kauffman’s “the adjacent possible” as a wellspring for new ideas and breakthroughs. In an intellectual, sometimes too-abstract presentation, Loreto articulates a scientifically tested model for innovating. getAbstract recommends this heady talk to anyone seeking a proven path to creativity and invention.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Where new ideas originate, and
  • How to improve your chances of discovery and breakthrough.

About the Speaker

Vittorio Loreto is a physicist at Sapienza University of Rome.



Where do great thinkers get their ideas? Consider a popular narrative about breakthrough, the story of physicist Isaac Newton and an apple. Legend has it that seeing the falling fruit revealed the nature of gravity to Newton. Even if this event didn’t happen, Newton likely encountered some “stepping-stone” that made his discovery possible. Similarly, many big ideas aren’t the result of conceptual leaps, but rather a series of small steps. Thinkers pull new ideas from the fringes of human knowledge – that is, the “adjacent and possible.”

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