Lateral thinking: The reason you’ve heard of Nintendo and Marvel

Here's why generalists triumph over specialists in the new era of innovation.

  • Since the explosion of the knowledge economy in the 1990s, generalist inventors have been making larger and more important contributions than specialists.
  • One theory is that the rise of rapid communication technologies allowed the information created by specialists to be rapidly disseminated, meaning generalists can combine information across disciplines to invent something new.
  • Here, David Epstein explains how Nintendo's Game Boy was a case of "lateral thinking with withered technology." He also relays the findings of a fascinating study that found the common factor of success among comic book authors.
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What if you could take a psychedelic drug regularly in such tiny quantities that the immediate effects were not discernible, yet over time it led to a range of psychological benefits, especially enhanced focus and heightened creativity?

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Mind & Brain

The 5 life skills employers are looking for the most

The world's changing, and so too are the skills that employers want to see.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash
  • LinkedIn scoured their database of employers and employees to develop a list of skills that employers were looking for the most.
  • These skills--creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and time management--are timeless, but they're also becoming more important as globalization and automation change the business landscape.
  • Here's what these five skills are about and how they can be improved.
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Big Think Edge

Why ceasing to be creative is a mistake

Even drawing stick figures has its benefits.

  • Many of us stop making art at a young age, convinced, perhaps, that we just don't have the talent for it.
  • This belief, however, may be wrong, and the benefits that producing art can bring aren't contingent on talent.
  • Is creating art an activity that all of us should pursue? Can artistic skill be taught?
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Personal Growth

Take a pause to let your mind work

Why the culture that destroyed attention spans is now turning to podcasts.

  • Taking a pause after consuming a piece of art or media is essential to our memory, emotions, and intellectual digestion, says writer, director and podcaster John Cameron Mitchell.
  • We live in an age full of influencers and YouTube personalities, but fewer narrative powerhouses. Storytelling takes time, skill, and requires us to make space to gather our thoughts.
  • Podcasts are a storytelling rebellion against so-called ADHD culture. If the internet ruined our attention spans, can the single-sense format of podcasts bring it back?
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