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Hardcover The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures Book

ISBN: 1591391865

ISBN13: 9781591391869

The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures

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Book Overview

Why do so many world-changing insights come from people with little or no related experience? Charles Darwin was a geologist when he proposed the theory of evolution. And it was an astronomer who... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Creativity with a new spin

Medici Effect opens slowly and at first I was disappointed: just another book of business successes. But as I began taking notes, I realized Frans Johansson really has a new message for all of us. I recommend skimming the first chapters to get to the second part of the book, and then going back to understand application of principles. The heart of the book is about the definition of intersectional innovation and the conditions that must exist for breakthroughs to happen -- a combination of individual qualities, environmental support, luck and perseverance. Perhaps the most helpful, most widely applicable guidelines involve planning for failure and, relatedly, moving from quantity to quality. Prolific authors, artists and business people tend to be successful. They might discard a dozen "bad" ideas to come to two or three successes. So we should reward people for actions, not just success. The only true failure is failure to act. I also liked Johansson's discussion of risk, especially the notion of "risk homeostasis." If we take risks in one area, we compensate by avoiding risks in another. And a false sense of security can lead to senseless risk-taking. Johansson's examples make fascinating reader and probably helped sell the book. But I couldn't help thinking that he offers little hope to the majority of people who find themselves in environments where they are forced to specialize. Risk-taking and diversity of experience tend to be discouraged and in fact we tend to disparage what I call the "winding road" career path. Richard Branson is an innovator; on a lesser scale, he'd be a rolling stone. Johansson emphasizes that underlying diversity, most people have a core competence where they've developed a solid expertise. I think that point has to be addressed, along with the need for a social antenna that allows innovators to find a supportive arena. If you're too maverick, you're dismissed; too conformist, you're not innovating. Where's the balance? For example, Orit Dagiesh, the Bain consultant, must have paid lots of dues to reach her position. And while Johansson says she defies the consultant stereotype, she does so in a direction that enhances her femininity, with high heels and jewelry. If she'd been more casual or sporty, she might not have been taken seriously. Attractiveness pays, especially for women. After reading this book, I began to see other examples of intersectional innovation. Natalie Goldberg's first book, Writing Down the Bones, mixed Zen Buddhism with writing. And Herminia Ibarra's Working Identity argues for creating new networks to make meaningful career changes. If I were teaching an MBA course in marketing, strategy or product planning, I'd recommend this book. And I'd recommend this book as a gift to anyone interested in business ideas. Those who liked Malcolm Gladwell's book, The TIpping Point (which Johansson discusses) will like The Medici Effect too.

Intersection - a powerful innovation concept

You have to like a book that starts by simply explaining the core concept on the second page: "When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas". The rest of the book follows in the same vein, clearly describing the underlying concepts and illustrating them with intriguing case studies from restaurants to monkey experiments. In Johansson's world, the best ideas come through diversity. He stresses that individuals and companies can and should adopt systematic processes to tap into the Medici Effect, named after the Renaissance era with the benign sponsorship of the arts and science . Whilst there is a strong element of randomness in ideation, there are distinct methods that can be followed. I decided to prove one of the core concepts of the book straight away - using diverse stimuli to provoke creative thought. So, on a recent transatlantic trip I opened up the in-flight magazine at a random page, and attempted to 'abstract' creative concepts from a Portuguese hotel advert to help with a business problem I have been working on for a while. Sure enough, leaping from the problem to a vision of sunny beaches did the trick - problem solved! The Medici Effect is an important book for corporate innovators as it expands the intellectual underpinnings of all our innovation activities. And bonus points to Frans - it makes an excellent read. Mark Turrell - Imaginatik - www.imaginatik.com

The Medici Effect explains and inspires innovation

With the Medici Effect, Johansson launches a brilliant way of analyzing the concept of innovation and it is incredible how fast this book will make you think about the creative potential in any process or situation at hand. The author has interviewed an impressive list of well-known pioneers from very different fields. It is their stories of successful innovation that form the basis of the work and they are presented along with research, models, and intelligent conclusions. Johansson convincingly argues that there is a pattern behind the discoveries and then he transforms this pattern into a method. Extremely insightful and extremely useful! The Medici Effect is written with the authority of a guru - it is undoubtedly academic, yet very accessible and entertaining. This is one of those books you read that will make you look at things in a new way.

I LOVE this book!

Everyone should read this book. Simply outstanding and feels very fresh. Also very, very useful. Lots of new insights. It's thesis is that we have the greatest chance of coming up with new ideas when we step into an intersection of fields, compared to if we stay within a single field or culture. Talks about why and how. The chapters are short and to the point. Great! They also tie into each other so you are going to want to read the next one, and the next one... The book is divided into three sections: 1. the first describes the intersection and the forces that are creating intersections between different fields and cultures today. Never knew that Shrek, Shakira and a commodities trader had anything in common. 2. the second shows us how we can develop intersectional ideas. The theory here is very well outlined and well founded and the stories are just amazing. It talks about food, games, VCs, MacGyver, music, the list goes on. Each new chapter gives more detail and useful advice. Lots of aha-moments. Really made me think hard about my projects at work and even my career. 3. the third looks at how we execute intersectional ideas. It shows why executing ideas within fields are different from at the intersection of fields. Love this section. It has perspectives on things like failures, risk-taking and motivation that I haven't heard before. Some of the stuff here was mind-blowing like the section about ants and truck drivers and how we tend to compensate for taking higher risks in one area by taking lower risks in another area. I liked how the book tied all of the ideas together so neatly and I liked the style of writing. In the Conclusion it goes from a myth about glass, to Corning's optical fibers, to a researcher on a prisoner island in Ecuador, to what motivates us to come up with new ideas, to how we can find intersections. Neat! I recommend this book highly!

Gain insight into the world's most innovative people.

Let me preface my review by saying that I am definitely biased. The author is an old friend from my business school days, and I have admired him and his work for years. However, I believe that my knowledge of Frans Johansson and his personality make me the perfect person to review this book. What makes "The Medici Effect" so special is the way in which it introduces corporate fuddy-duddies like me to a constellation of the world's most innovative people. I can go down to the local Barnes & Noble and pick out 50 books that talk about traditional business role models ranging from Jeff Bezos to Sandy Weill. Those stories are told all the time. "The Medici Effect," on the other hand, introduces you to people like superchef Marcus Samuelsson and Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, the best-selling card game of all time. These are stories that you and I would probably never otherwise read. Yet Johansson does a masterful job of telling the stories, analyzing what allowed this people to innovate, and setting it in a business context. This isn't just another business book. It doesn't give you a list of the 7 Effective Laws Of Crossing My Rich Dad's Cheese and a link to the author's consulting practice. This book shows you a completely different perspective on the world, a perspective which, if combined with your conventional business savvy, represents a potentially fruitful intersection of ideas. Steve Jobs commanded us to "Think Different." That's easier said than done. "The Medici Effect" can help you think different, and that puts it ahead of 99.9% of the other business books on the bestseller lists.
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