Ronald Burt

Because of patent law, which exists to protect intellectual capital, we often think the value of an idea lies in its creation. Yet the value of an idea lies in the audience, not its source, and one idea can be ‘created’ many, many times. Creativity exists in a chain: an idea comes from this group and goes to that group, and that group then carries it over to another group. An idea is a multiple sequence of creative acts. This is important because it means that creativity isn’t just the domain of brilliant people, it’s also the domain of average people who travel to other groups. The simplest way to feel creative is to find people more ignorant than you. Nobody knows that better than academics, who are constantly in the business of reading widely, coming up with ideas, then shipping them to groups unaware of the ideas.

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