• Applicable


“Eureka moments” are a myth, says author and entrepreneur Steven Johnson. Ideas don't happen in isolation. So how do bright ideas occur, and where? Johnson answers these questions in this energetic, unified lecture that finds its roots in crowded English coffeehouses and in the pages of Charles Darwin’s journals. getAbstract recommends this talk to anyone responsible for generating creativity and innovation or anyone interested in how the human mind works.


Why was the English coffeehouse crucial to the Enlightenment? First, the rise of the coffeehouse influenced popular drinking habits. Previously, alcohol had been a daylong refreshment, meaning people were “effectively drunk all day.” Switching from drinking alcohol, a depressant, to stimulating teas and coffees improved the public’s ability to think and participate in the philosophical movement. Second, “the architecture of the space” had an impact. Individuals with different backgrounds would gather at tables to share and merge ideas, breeding altogether new ones.

Different innovation-rich environments – physical, virtual, biological – ...

About the Speaker

Steven Johnson founded the online magazine FEED and wrote Emergence and several other books.

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