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Small Business Ideas: Steven Johnson and Slow Hunches

January 8, 2011

Small Business Innovation 101

Author Stephen Johnson wrote “Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation,” published in October of 2010 and in the process may have unleashed some genius locked in the souls of entrepreneurs who read it. I bought the audiobook version (first) and have been listening to it on a daily hour long commute. The book is pure genius – as he lays out his theories, you constantly say to yourself “Exactly!”

When I heard him outline his “Slow Hunch” concept, I recognized how often I had seen that principle in the world around me, at work, in personal projects, at entrepreneurial startups where I consult.

If you haven’t heard of Stephen Johnson or this book, I’ve embedded a TED talk video below where he gives a good overview of the concept called “Slow Hunch” – and I promise you that it’s worth the 18 minutes of your time to watch.

I found his blog and this video – again – worth the four minutes, I promise.

Johnson said:

… to make your mind more innovative, you have to place it inside environments that share that same network signature: networks of ideas or people that mimic the neural networks of a mind exploring the boundaries of the adjacent possible

Perhaps you may be among those of us who said to themselves, “Damn! That’s a great idea – I wish there were a website and community that allowed the concepts he describes so eloquently to work within the group mind, an online neural network – with software that evolves based on community goals and group intentions.

There is – a site called (surprise!) SlowHunch.com launched by developer Chris Whamond, which was inspired by Johnson’s book. I instantly joined and have begun to read, vote and soon – to contribute. I hope you’ll do the same and the idea takes off in a big way.

Meanwhile, I’ve addd a new category to WebSite101 called “innovation” and will post my thoughts on small business innovation and new ideas. If and when appropriate, I’ll continue to follow developments at SlowHunch. I highly recommend the book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

Mike Valentine

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