Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas. Richard Ogle. Harvard Business Review Press.

Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas Book Cover Smart World: Breakthrough Creativity And the New Science of Ideas
Richard Ogle
Harvard Business Review Press
June 5, 2007

What to do jazz musician Dave Brubeck, Apple’s Steve Jobs, and architect Frank Gehry all have in common? They are credited with some of the most inventive accomplishments of the past half-century – the classical jazz album Time Out, the iPod, Barbie, and Spain’s spectacular Guggenheim Museum. Yet their creative leaps all came about differently. They each combined their individual imaginative intelligence with unique networks of ideas that lay outside their own minds to reach true breakthroughs in their fields.

Clearly, not all brilliant innovations originate only from the minds of individual geniuses. On the contrary, our world is made up of intelligent networked spaces that, if we navigate them skilfully, can lead us to generate unprecedented ideas.

Welcome to Smart World. In this provocative book, Richard Ogle argues that creative breakthroughs are born when individuals and groups access new idea-spaces and exploit the principles that govern them. Boldly outlining a new science of ideas, he sets out nine laws – including “hot spots,” “the fit get fitter,” and “small-world networks” – that govern idea-spaces. And he illuminates each law with fascinating stories of dramatic breakthroughs in science, business, and art.

  • For example, you’ll discover:
  • What sparked Picasso’s creation of the seminal painting that heralded Cubism.
  • Where Ruth Handler got the idea for Barbie, and why it turned the dull business upside down.
  • How Frank Gehry set the world of architecture on a new path.
  • How “supersizing” portions came about, and why it permanently changed the fast-food industry.
  • Why Crick and Watson, to rank outsiders, solve the enigma of DNA when Linus Pauling couldn’t.

Anyone interested in how creative leaps occurred – primarily in business, but also in science, technology, and the arts – will value this book, as will those interested in how human imagination, intuition, and insight really operate.

Insightful and compelling, Smart World will forever transform the way we think about creativity and innovation.

Richard Ogle is an entrepreneur, consultant, and independent scholar.