How do good ideas behave?

The second fractal pattern that Steven Johnson gives us in his Where Good Ideas Come From is named "liquid networks". This pattern defines good ideas as networks rather than as solid-state things. It recognizes the interchanging and increasing returns between good ideas. It differs from patterns of "hive minds" or the "wisdom of crowds" where being smarter only occurs together, not within any particular individual. It recognizes the fluidity of sharing and collaborating that occurs when people get their heads together on similar wavelengths.

I could not get this pattern to sink in at first, unlike the first and most of the others in his book. I got to wondering if I'm impervious to it or whether I've got rocks in my head. I doubt very much that the author is all wet since all I've previously read by him is very articulate and sharp minded. I've given this pattern of "liquid networks" more time for my mind to absorb it by letting it percolate through my trusted concepts about the diffusion of innovations, collaborations between designers and synergies between conflicted outlooks. This pattern has infiltrated my understanding somewhat that I can spillover for you to absorb:

This chapter gave me a wonderful set of takeaway questions about the behavior patterns my good ideas are exhibiting:
  • How do my good ideas act and interact around other good ideas? 
  • How do my good ideas initially handle and later recover from exposure to bad ideas?
  • What patterns do others' good ideas reveal to me when my good ideas interact with them?
  • How do my good ideas spillover into others' experiences and networks of comprehension?
This pattern seems to look at similar dynamics to other familiar distinctions between:
  • open and closed systems, resources or minds
  • shared commons and enclosed intellectual property, content or expertise
  • connected nodes and disconnected, dislocated or isolated nodes
  • transparent sharing and guarded, secretive or pretentious posturing
What if this "liquid network" pattern is in a stuck place which suggests that it could move into an adjacent possible:

  • that combines fluidity with solid ideas standing on solid ground with solid purposes
  • that portrays ideas steeping in and soaking up fluids into partially solid things like tea infusers or sponges
  • that realizes the best of both individuality and commonality when sharing ideas and getting new good  ideas from those exchanges
  • that shifts the emphasis from the movement of ideas between entities to the infiltration of ideas within an entity as a way to explain the spawning, proliferating and diffusion of good ideas
What if my good ideas have behaved in a way that I'm describing in this post? What if the idea of "liquid networks" has given me lots of other good ideas that I would not have come up with on my own? What if my articulation of common ground with a smidgen of personal transparency creates the right impression of my good ideas being networks, not things, which fosters your inclination to absorb them into your own vast network of good ideas.

Here are my other explorations of the seven fractal patterns of innovation in Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson:
  1. Migrating to the adjacent possible (adjacent possible)
  2. How do good ideas behave (liquid networks pattern)
  3. Where hunches go to die (slow hunches)
  4. Setting up accidental discoveries (serendipity)
  5. Benefiting from errors (errors)
  6. Getting psyched for exaptation (exaptation)
  7. Flourishing on emergent platforms (emergent platforms) 

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