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BIA/Kelsey ILM10: Steven Johnson, “Where Good Ideas Come From”

The last morning of the BIA/Kelsey ILM10, in rainy Santa Clara, started off with a great keynote from Steven Johnson, the best-selling author of six books on the intersection of science, technology and personal experience. His writings have influenced everything from the way political campaigns use the Internet, to cutting-edge ideas in urban planning, to the battle against 21st-century terrorism.

“Steven’s newest book is titled Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation. His previous book The Invention of Air tells the story of Joseph Priestly, the Founding Fathers, and how innovative ideas emerge and spread in society and drive historical change. Like his award-winning book, The Ghost Map, The Invention of Air uses a surprising historical and biographical narrative to discuss ideas that have profoundly shaped our modern world.

The Ghost Map was one of the ten best nonfiction books of 2006 according to Entertainment Weekly. Drawn from one of the defining moments in the invention of modern life—the emergence of modern public health during the London cholera epidemic of 1854—The Ghost Map is a gripping case study in how change happens, the turbulent way in which wrong or ineffectual ideas are overthrown by better ones.”  – The Leigh Bureau

Johnson lived up to his reputation as a brilliant speaker, covering (in an all too brief amount of time) some of the patterns that lead to innovation: The Slow Hunch, The Liquid Network and the importance of group diversity to creativity.

Engaging and informative, Johnson was one of the highlights of ILM10.  To get a taste of his presentation, take a look at the brief video of his presentation at TED (Technology Entertainment Design) on YouTube.

The audience had a number of questions for Johnson and BIA/Kelsey hosted a book signing after the session.  I’m looking forward to downloading his book.

As the event comes to a close, I can only say that this was one of the best conferences I’ve been to and very well attended right up to the last session.

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