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The power of creative association

The back page of the September issue featured a column about the power of creative association. Two recent books use that concept to scrutinize the question of where good ideas come from. The first, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs: Insanely Different Principles for Breakthrough Success, was released on Sep. 20 and examines how Steve Jobs conceives of and makes manifest the ideas that have made an innovative powerhouse of Apple Inc. An excerpt from that book makes apparent how this quality affected the Apple II:

While Wozniak was improving the internal circuitry and design of what would become the Apple II, Jobs concentrated on the case, which, in his opinion, had to appeal to non-hobbyists looking for a complete, ready-to-use computer. Otherwise it would not have the mass-market appeal that would be required to make the product, and the company, successful. Jobs envisioned the computer in the home, perhaps the kitchen, where the entire family would enjoy using it. Clearly the Apple II had to have a far more approachable look and feel than any computer existing at the time. It would have to be more like a kitchen appliance and less like something found in a hobbyist’s garage.

The other book, Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation, released today, does not address technology specifically but is nonetheless relevant to anyone with the potential for The Next Big Thing. This four-minute video summarizes the author’s hypothesis:

The Apple II is the product of genius, and those who use it today exemplify creative computing and imaginative problem-solving. Though I’ve not yet had the opportunity to read either of these books, I suspect their messages will resonate with members of our community.

(Hat tip to Cory Doctorow)