When it comes to innovation, I have two questions. The first is: where do people find inspiration? And the second is: where do people find inspiration?
By the first question, I mean what inspires people. We’re all familiar with sites like Pinterest, where you can discover new things and collect stuff that you love. Or the non-profit TED, whose mission is to spread ideas.
However, in Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, author Steven Johnson explains that innovation rarely comes from isolated moments of inspiration. He talks about how progress in science and technology is only made possible by the steps that come before them. For example, the printing press was only possible after movable type, paper and ink had been invented. And, could you imagine YouTube taking off before broadband and cheap video cameras?
Location, location, inspiration
Innovation usually occurs when the cultural climate is just right. Johnson cites 17th century European coffee houses and the internet as examples of breeding grounds for ideas. Which brings us back to our original question, where do people find inspiration?
Where are these hotbeds of new ideas? Is there a geographical pattern? Are some countries more likely than others to foster creativity and seed innovation?
While we can’t say for certain where the next innovation hub will arise; we can look at what’s inspiring people around the world today with our World of Innovation interactive map. It listens to what people are saying about innovation and inspiration on social media and displays the results in a heat map. You can filter the map by categories, such as business, technology, science, lifestyle, culture, retail and sport.
What’s more, the tool’s only going to get better. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to zoom in on the map, read individual tweets and discover inspiring video content.
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