I updated “Created Serendipity: Chance Favors the Connected Mind” with selections from “Rabbit holes: Why being smart hurts your productivity : Sridatta Thatipamala”.

Richard Hamming puts it yet another way in his essay You and Your Research:

I notice that if you have the door to your office closed, you get more work done today and tomorrow, and you are more productive than most. But 10 years later somehow you don’t know quite know what problems are worth working on … He who works with the door open gets all kinds of interruptions, but he also occasionally gets clues as to what the world is and what might be important. … [T]here is a pretty good correlation between those who work with the doors open and those who ultimately do important things, although people who work with doors closed often work harder.

What both of them are saying is that producing brilliant work is heavily reliant on serendipity. Putting your nose to the grindstone will certainly get things done, but when you are working on cutting-edge problems with no predetermined path to success you derive inspiration through chance discoveries.

Both these men were probably relied on conversations with their brilliant colleagues to deliver them random insights. But they also had the advantage of working at the top of their games at Caltech [1] and Bell Labs, respectively. The common geek today relies on the Internet, especially community watering holes like HackerNews and Reddit, to keep abreast of “what the world is and what might be important”.

Source: Rabbit holes: Why being smart hurts your productivity : Sridatta Thatipamala

This also fits in with my use of “caves, campfires and watering holes” and “Cavendish space” in “Classroom UX: Designing for Pluralism”.

I updated “Created Serendipity: Chance Favors the Connected Mind” with a selection from “Improving our Ability to Improve – 2002 – (AUGMENT,133320,) – Doug Engelbart Institute”.

We need to become better at being humans. Learning to use symbols and knowledge in new ways, across groups, across cultures, is a powerful, valuable, and very human goal. And it is also one that is obtainable, if we only begin to open our minds to full, complete use of computers to augment our most human of capabilities.

— Douglas C. Engelbart

Source: Improving our Ability to Improve – 2002 – (AUGMENT,133320,) – Doug Engelbart Institute

Via: Future Text Publishing

I updated “Created Serendipity: Chance Favors the Connected Mind ” with selections from “What does knowledge work look like? | LinkedIn” and “WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson – YouTube”.

These days, the equivalent of the 20th century ‘work hack’ of spending time at the water cooler is spending time on social networks. The ironic thing is that, because knowledge work isn’t usually procedural and repetitive, but thrives on serendipity and slow hunches, this ‘goofing off’ can actually be beneficial.

Source: What does knowledge work look like? | LinkedIn

Most important ideas take a long time to evolve.

Good ideas usually come from the collision of smaller hunches.

When ideas take form in this hunch state, they need to collide with other hunches. Often times, the thing that turns a hunch into a real breakthrough is another hunch that’s lurking in somebody else’s mind. And you have to figure out a way to create systems that allow those hunches to come together and turn into something bigger than the sum of their parts.

The great driver of scientific innovation and technological innovation has been the historic increase in connectivity and our ability to reach out and exchange ideas with other people and to borrow other people’s hunches and combine them with out hunches and turn them into something new.

That’s the real lesson of where good ideas come from: that chance favors the connected mind.

Source: WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson – YouTube

I also reworked my placeholder opening graf (too long it lingered) into a few somewhat better grafs that need work, still, and will, again, too long linger.