Monday, January 25, 2016

MAKING SEN$E - Hotbeds of Genius

"Hotbeds of genius and innovation depend on these key ingredients" by Sandy Petryowski, PBS NewsHour 1/21/2016


Are there really genius clusters?  What is the secret sauce of creative genius?  For his new book, “The Geography of Genius,” best-selling author Eric Weiner traveled the globe from Athens to Silicon Valley to find out why certain places have turned out so many talented individuals at certain times in history.

Weiner says several elements are often at play.  “In order for genius to happen, you need to have almost a chemical reaction going on, you need to have molecules banging against each other, and the more molecules you have, the better,” Weiner told PBS NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman.

“Those collisions are more likely to happen in a city than they are in the countryside.  Silicon Valley is one exception to that rule, it was essentially suburbia when it grew up, but it’s probably the exception that proves the rule.  All of these other golden ages sprang out of urban centers.”

The key to the cultivation of genius is openness to innovation, and to outsiders.  Genius magnets attract talent from far and wide.

“Take Vienna,” Weiner said.  “Beethoven, Mozart, Haydn, none of them were from Vienna, they moved there and once they moved there they further magnetized the city, but there always has to be that initial seed in the first place.”

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