Formatting our world

The language we speak, the organisation we live or work in, and the technology we use all have one thing in common: they format our world. They shape how we think about it, how we see it, how we behave in it, and how we interact with it. All that formatting has tremendous advantages in our day-to-day lives. Yet it also provides an explanation for the challenges innovators face when they develop something novel that does not fit any of the pre-established formats.

Gaining insights

What happens when a sudden insight strikes you? The cognitive psychologist Gary Klein wanted to understand exactly that “light bulb moment”. What do we think, how do we think in such a moment? What leads us to having an insight?

Exploring the adjacent possible – Conditions for success

What makes innovation flourish? Which types of environment let new ideas thrive? Science author Steven Johnson delves into exactly these questions in “Where Good Ideas Come From”. Here’s what he found.

On the freedom and responsibility of science

The freedom of science is a highly valued and widely appreciated principle. Or so I thought – until Andy Borowitz reminded me of the contrary with his recent news satire in The New Yorker, in which he mocks the growing anti-knowledge attitude in some parts of the U.S. political establishment. Thus triggered to think twice, I’ll dwell a little […]

Different scales, different purposes, all intertwined

Complex adaptive systems exists at different scales, both spatial and temporal. As Lance Gunderson and Crawford Holling described it, those different scales form of structure of nested adaptive cycles. To make this idea a bit more tangible, let’s take weather and climate: we are all exposed to the very local patterns every minute we are outdoors; we take into […]