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Social Networks breed Creativity

23 August, 2010

Not surprising anyone who has been involved in collaborative work before, NewScientist has reported a Cornell University study that has looked at social connections and found that larger cities have a greater amount of connections than towns, etc., and that larger cities produce more patents and more innovation than smaller places.

Why?  In larger cities, brilliant people are more likely to be socially connected with someone who may be able to help them on their project, whatever it is – maybe through complementary personalities, maybe through complementary backgrounds, maybe through something as simple as being able to bounce ideas off someone else.  The production of innovation rarely comes purely through one’s own personal effort, but through the involvement of others.

In short – those who want high performance need to do some social networking with people who are likely to help: perhaps with like-minded people in different fields; perhaps with colleagues who think differently, even though they are in the same field.

In African philosophy, there is a concept that, loosely translated, means that people are people through other people .  We definitely find this in expert performance – we perform at our best through the involvement of others.

First posted on The Genius Project.

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