Bumping into something

I once had the opportunity to interview the great writer and historian Walter Isaacson. He has written incredible books on intellectual giants – Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin – and I asked him about his definition of genius. How did these icons receive their inspiration?

He told me that insight requires two conditions: endless curiosity and the ability to see patterns.

In other words, creating insights comes from being curious and connecting the dots in a new way. You call on your unique life experience to look at something from a different angle.

In an academic paper titled “Serendipity in Entrepreneurship,” Nicholas Dew contends that the most important spark of new ideas comes when individuals are involved in some kind of an inquisitive search and accidentally bump into something they weren’t looking for.

The beginning of momentum is acting on curiosity.

From “Cumulative Advantage: How to Build Momentum for Your Ideas, Business, and Life Against All Odds” by Mark Schaefer