I must have been hungry.  I devoured a book in less than 24 hours.  Not a novel where I got lost in the story living vicariously through someone elses’ life.  No this was something unexpected and unknown but captured my imagination and sent my mind racing none the less.

The Medici Effect:

What Elephants and Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation

by Frans Johansson

Create an environment for new imaginative thinking to solve problems or develop ideas by working with people from diverse backgrounds, cultures, professions and experiences.

Last year I asked my friends and co-workers to join me to solve an old problem, modern-day slavery, in an old way with government funding and collaboration with other governments.  But with creative innovative thinking I’m sure there’s a new way to look at this problem.  The old way is good.  It’s what we have to work with now, but if people from a variety of disciplines, fields, cultures, businesses and academic interests were to intersect around human trafficking – I have hope that new extraordinary ideas would come to mind.

And that’s just one area that could use extraordinary ideas.

A few months ago Mary Nelson brought together over 150 people to address the upsurge in violence in our city.  This problem needs more than just the same old concepts and solutions.  It needs an innovative idea that comes from the intersection of a variety of people coming from unexpected relationships.

After traveling to Haiti this month and seeing people still living among the rubble, destruction and in tent cities over a year after the earthquake it reminds me how much they need new innovative thinking. One gentleman we met in a rural village look us inside his home to show us his sick wife, leaky roof and dilapidated house.  The one english word he repeated over and over as he pointed to various things, “Problem”.  Yes, Haiti has overwhelming complex problems that need new creative ideas.

This book gave me some take away’s for today:

  • Carry a notebook, or ipad, and write all my ideas down, no matter how crazy
  • Exercise my thinking by breaking down usual associations between ideas and concepts
  • Reverse a goal to find a new solution
  • Brainstorm alone before you brainstorm as a group (and shoot for 30 ideas)
  • Find a way to reward failure as well as success

There are creative ideas that have yet to be developed.  Ideas that could change large problems that we face across all spheres of life – government, health care, economics, education, family life and church. My sphere my be small but this book gave me a new perspective on how to set myself up to step into the intersection of creative, innovative thinking.

Is there an area you need a new idea, a problem solved, a creative solution?  Try the Medici Effect.

Free pdf copy



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