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Joel Mokyr

“Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”

JOEL MOKYR

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People that are in need have less capacity for creativity.

To improve their environments, creative people need factors like good nutrition, religious beliefs that are not overly conservative, and access to education.

  • A social infrastructure: society needs a supply of creative innovators who are willing and able to challenge their physical environment in order to better themselves.
  • Social incentives: there need to be incentives in place to encourage innovation...

Keep these ideas in mind:

  • If we want to come up with new ideas as individuals, we have to consider ourselves as part of a system.
  • Tolerance for divergence is crucial for creativity.
  • Invention is not the natural state of things, it is an exc...

In all societies, there are people and groups that want to maintain the status quo because it is in their interests to do so.

Even if there are tensions, the most creative societies are those where it is still possible for the new thing to take over. If t...

For a creative society to exist and thrive, the people that form it have to consider fresh ideas from within their own society and also to take inspiration from those coming from elsewhere.

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The components of creativity

Two of the primary components of creativity include:

  1. Originality: The idea should be something new that is not simply an extension of something else that already exists.
  2. Functionality: The idea needs to actually wo...

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Constraints vs Obstacles

Constraints are viewed as obstacles. The common wisdom regarding obstacles suggests that we have to remove all constraints.

We tend to believe that by getting rid of all rules and regulations, real creativity and innovation will start to emerge.

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Innovation at work

When you look at great geniuses like Newton, for example, it can be easy to imagine that their ideas and work came exclusively out of their minds. But that is seldom how it works.

Innovation doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Regardless of how unique a work seems, if you look a bit closer, you wil...

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