Isaac Asimov on Generating New Ideas

Here’s a never before seen essay on creativity by Isaac Asimov, recovered from the files of Arthur Obermayer and reprinted in MIT’s Technology Review.

The main recommendation: use informal meetings as a way to educate participants in new facts, and fact-combinations, in new theories and “vagrant thoughts”. Keep meetings small (five people or less), and the atmosphere informal, relaxed and permissive. Let no one person dominate.

Think of The Eagle pub with Watson and Crick having a pint in 1953. Or think lunch time at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in the 60’s and 70’s. In those sorts of environments, connections between previously disparate facts (or people) will be made… and new ideas will follow.

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