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‘Farsighted’ Review: How to Make Up Your Mind - WSJ
14 COMMENTS
By David A. Shaywitz
Sept. 11, 2018

..mission planners first systematically widened their thinking to define their options as broadly as possible, seeking a “full-spectrum appraisal of the state of things and a comprehensive list of potential choices.” Then they coned down the alternatives by playing out multiple scenarios, exploring all the ways the mission could go wrong........When faced with complex choices we tend to frame problems in a narrow fashion. .......seek participation from as broad and diverse a group as possible.....a diversity of viewpoints isn’t enough. Citing the legal scholar Cass Sunstein, Mr. Johnson observes that, although “groups often possess a rich mix of information distributed among their members,” when they assemble “they tend to focus on shared information.” Thus it is important to design a process that exposes “unshared information”—by meeting individually with stakeholders, for instance, instead of merely convening a town hall. Similarly, he cites research revealing that two-thirds of organizational decisions never contemplate more than a single option. There is a “gravitational pull toward the initial framing of the decision.” To overcome it, he suggests considering what might be done if the presumptive path forward were suddenly blocked....“Uncertainty can’t simply be analyzed out of existence,” ...What scenarios and simulations can offer is a way to “prepare you for the many ways that the future might unexpectedly veer.”..... Linear value modeling, for example, weighs the relative importance of different goals, while a bad-outcomes approach examines worst-case possibilities........given the challenges of making high-stakes global decisions. How should we respond, as a planet, to the challenges of addressing climate change, communicating with alien life forms or managing computers with superintelligence? The answer seems to be: by convening diverse experts and hoping for the best. ....... Great novels matter because “they let us experience parallel lives, and see the complexity of those experiences in vivid detail.”........ fundamentally, choices concern competing narratives, and we’re likely to make better choices if we have richer stories, with more fleshed-out characters, a more nuanced understanding of motives, and a deeper appreciation of how decisions are likely to reverberate and resound.
books  book_reviews  Cass_Sunstein  choices  decision_making  far-sightedness  howto  narrow-framing  novels  presumptions  scenario-planning  shared_experiences  Steven_Johnson  systematic_approaches  thinking_tragically  uncertainty  unshared_information  wide-framing  worst-case 
november 2018 by jerryking
The Slow Hunch: How Innovation is Created Through Group Intelligence
By Dan Rowinski / June 9, 2011

Chance favors the connected mind. That is what author Steven B. Johnson says to those looking for the next big idea. Johnson is the author of "Where Ideas Come From" a book that looks at the macro trends on how innovation evolves.

Ideas are rarely created through a "eureka" moment....Johnson believes that ideas are born of a "slow hunch" that are made possible through periods of technological innovation and evolution. If you are creating a startup, where do you get your ideas from?

Innovation is often made possible by the evolution of networked possibilities....
The Hive Mind & Collective Intelligence

"It is just this idea that if you diversify and have an electric range of interests and you are constantly getting interesting stories about things that you do not know that much about or are adjacent to your particular field of expertise you are much more likely to come up with innovative ideas," Johnson told ReadWriteWeb.

The same approach would work well for developers and innovators working on the next technology breakthrough. Startup founders should take step back from their project and ask what type of similar projects have been undertaken in a completely different field and see if those lessons can be applied to their project.

"The trick is to look at something different and borrow ideas. It is like saying 'this worked for that field, if we put it here what would it do in this new context?'" Johnson said.

In today's world, the ability to branch out of your field of expertise has been made much easier through social media. You can follow what is happening in your niche through a specifically created Twitter list, but it is also beneficial to create lists of people working in different sectors as well.

"The important thing is that this is not some kind of hive-mind wisdom of the crowds, collective intelligence network smarts," Johnson said. "The unit is still the individual or the small group. There are some examples of group intelligence. This is an example instead of taking individuals in small groups and making them smarter by connecting them to a wider range of influences."
adjacencies  collective_intelligence  innovation  grouping  Steven_Johnson  start_ups  chance  probabilities  idea_generation  ideas  Communicating_&_Connecting  cross-pollination  cross-disciplinary  interconnections  learning_journeys  connected_learning  wisdom_of_crowds 
october 2011 by jerryking
FT.com / Life & Arts - Lightning in a bottle
October 30 2010 | Financial Times | By Steven Johnson. The
physical density of the city also encourages innovation. Many start-ups,
both now and during the first, late-1990s internet boom, share offices.
This creates informal networks of influence, where ideas can pass from
one company to the other over casual conversation at the espresso
machine or water cooler....By crowding together, we increase the
likelihood of interesting ideas or talents crossing the companies’
borders. The proximity also helps to counter the natural volatility of
start-ups...Economists have a telling phrase for the kind of sharing
that happens in these densely populated environments: “information
spillover.” When you share a civic culture with millions of people, good
ideas have a tendency to flow from mind to mind, even when their
creators try to keep them secret....The musician and artist Brian Eno coined the odd but apt word “scenius” to describe the unusual pockets of group creativity and invention that emerge in certain intellectual or artistic scenes: philosophers in 18th-century Scotland; Parisian artists and intellectuals in the 1920s. In Eno’s words, scenius is “the communal form of the concept of the genius.” New York hasn’t yet reached those heights in terms of internet innovation, but clearly something powerful has happened. There is genuine digital-age scenius on its streets. This is good news for my city, of course, but it’s also an important case study for any city that wishes to encourage innovative business. How did New York pull it off?
ideas  creativity  innovation  cities  cross-pollination  urban  idea_generation  scenius  Steven_Johnson  proximity  information_spillover  unpredictability  serendipity  collaboration  densification  ideaviruses  volatility  network_density  start_ups 
october 2010 by jerryking
Chance Favors the Connected Mind
September 27, 2010 | Jam Side Down | by Marty Manley. This
weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a very insightful article by
Steve Johnson, author of Everything Bad Is Good for You, which argues
that video games and TV shows are actually making us smarter and The
Ghost Map, which chronicles the heroic efforts of John Snow to prove
that London's terrifying 19th century cholera epidemics were water
borne, not airborne as widely believed.

The article is condensed from Johnson's forthcoming Where Good Ideas
Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, which describes the
conditions under which "ideas have sex" and multiply. He has also
released a YouTube video that is both a captivating summary and a
brilliant piece of media.
book_reviews  books  cholera  innovation  YouTube  Steven_Johnson  interconnections  ideas  idea_generation  luck  chance  information_spillover  ideaviruses  connected_learning  collective_intelligence  contingency  19th_century  virality 
october 2010 by jerryking
Unboxed - Yes, People Still Read, but Now It’s Social - NYTimes.com
June 18, 2010 | New York Times | By STEVEN JOHNSON, Nicholas
Carr's new book, “The Shallows,” argues that the compulsive skimming,
linking and multitasking of our screen reading is undermining the deep,
immersive focus that has defined book culture for centuries.
Distractions come with a heavy cost--studies show how multitasking harms
our concentration. But we must also measure what we gain from
multitasking....The problem with Mr. Carr’s model is its unquestioned
reverence for the slow contemplation of deep reading. For society to
advance as it has since Gutenberg, he argues, we need the quiet,
solitary space of the book. Yet many great ideas that have advanced
culture over the past centuries have emerged from a more connective
space, in the collision of different worldviews and sensibilities,
different metaphors and fields of expertise. (Gutenberg himself borrowed
his printing press from the screw presses of Rhineland vintners, as Mr.
Carr notes.)
cognitive_skills  collective_intelligence  collective_wisdom  Communicating_&_Connecting  connected_learning  contemplation  cross-disciplinary  deep_learning  discernment  distractions  focus  Johan_Gutenberg  Kindle  metaphors  multitasking  monotasking  Nicholas_Carr  reading  solitude  Steven_Johnson  sustained_inquiry  thinking  thinking_deliberatively  worldviews 
june 2010 by jerryking
How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live
Friday, Jun. 05, 2009 | TIME Magazine | By Steven Johnson
twitter  twittertools  social_media  Steven_Johnson 
august 2009 by jerryking

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