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ISTE 2013 – Keynote – Steven Johnson – Where Good Ideas Come From

June 25, 2013

Today’s Keynote Session: Where Good Ideas Come From

Join best-selling author Steven Johnson, one of the foremost thought leaders in today’s interdisciplinary, collaborative and open-minded approach to innovation, for an inspirational talk as he explores the concept of where and how good ideas originate. Drawing on examples from both inside and outside of education, Johnson will discuss how innovative learners solve problems by borrowing ideas from multiple fields of thought, and how both educators and students leverage peer networks to mobilize as agents of change.

Todd’s Key Takeaways. Steven spoke really about how ideas don’t just pop into mind, they are the result of much simmering, much conversation, and surrounding yourself with divergent views, and unique perspectives. Further we want to be using different approaches to problems and he compared to the way simulation games, like Dawn of Discovery are played which incorporate thinking of the same problem, from different angles. The rest of this post contains my notes from the session this morning!

Concert by Dara Niemi Band. Music and talent is fabulous!

Getting a little crowded!;)

Welcome Brian and Kecia!

I really like this format – Brian and Kecia at a desk like a news cast, or talk show. I’m finding it really effective! Great idea!

Mayor of San Antonio, Julia Castro, is here and said hi! Turns out he’s “under 40” and doing something amazing in his city!
Turns out San Antonio started a new tax last year, 1/8 of a cent sales tax that pays for Pre-Kindergarten for all students! Good job #SAT

He dropped in to say “Thank You” to the educators who make a difference. I can see why he is so popular! He has a great speech writer!

Another audience engagement poll this morning!

Challenge – create a word that refers to “fired up” and “wiped out”

Steven Johnson
Book: Where Good Ideas Come From

We live with Connected Learning, in a Connected World.

Slow Hunch – we let ideas just sit and percolate, and hopefully it will come up soon. This label was on the original server that was the Internet – from Tim Berners Lee

Tim Berners Lee was working on his side project for about five years, just as a way for him to store his ideas, and information and link it together. His intent wasn’t just to invent a global network connecting millions of computers, just a simple little system to save information for himself.

However, the idea still took the world nearly 10 years to start to take hold of his idea. This is why you need to keep your hunches alive, sometimes they need to sit and simmer for a long time before they really take off, or until the idea makes sense to a greater group of folks.

The Commonplace Book
Darwin was sitting when his ideas just “popped” into his mind about Natural Selection. However if you read his journals for the year prior to his ideas, you can see the evidence of his mind wandering in and out of this topic before it becomes a coherent idea.

Commonplace Book was where people would write down by hand important quotations about what they were reading. From multiple sources. Each person would keep their own Commonplace Books. Therefore each person would form their own opinions of the world!

Ideas are not single things that just pop into our minds – rather they are a combination of our experiences, thinking, writing, etc.

Steven uses a product called Devonthink which lets you build quotes. He uses it as a creative tool to find things related. This tells him and reminds him of things he has read and considered over the years, and some things that are from more than 10 years ago. These related ideas help him build up concepts that he might not have come up with on their own.

The Liquid Network
An environment where ideas just naturally flow, from place to place, or person to person. Steven theorizes that before coffee became mainstream, people drank alcohol for all meals. So as they switched from a depressant liquid to a stimulant – lots of good things happened. Not so sure about this one, but it does make a good story!!;)

One of the cool things about connections, is connecting to people who are different than we are, encouraging new ideas through diversity. Not to consider this as “tolerance” rather learning about differences, and in theory, if we’re surround by people who are different, we become smarter. I’m finding this similar thinking to Phil McCrae’s concept of the echo-chamber in Education – that is, if we’re surrounded by like-minded, like-thinking people, we’ll hear the same ideas over and over, and now we’ll believe them to be True.

Todd’s note: Perhaps this again substantiates why ATLE can be so successful, as we are bringing Leaders, Educators, and Technology folk together and hopefully taking advantages of the amazing ideas that bubble up.

Gutenberg saw a machine that was designed to press grapes, and turned it into a machine for printing books.

When Apple was designing their retail stores, they went to really successful 5-star hotels, like the Ritz-Carlton and put their employees through the training. People love the Concierge concept, which became the Genius Bar.

Okay, I left my iPad for a moment to talk to someone, and WordPress lost half of my post.

Sorry folks, I’ll try to rebuild later!



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