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Creativity isn’t dependent on building an expensive research center

2 min read


SmartBrief is partnering with Big Think to create a weekly video spotlight in SmartBrief on Leadership called “VIP Corner: Video Insights Powered by Big Think.” This week, we’re featuring author George Dyson.

Alan Turing’s computer proved to be a tremendous challenge to translate into engineering terms for a functional, memory-capable device. But contrary to what we might expect, the rapid answers to this problem weren’t found at the big, famous and funded laboratories of the post-World War II era, says George Dyson, author of “Turing’s Cathedral.”

Those labs produced great innovations and inventions, and there’s been the argument recently that we need to return to the Bell Labs era. Dyson points out, though, that sometimes creativity and problem-solving cannot be managed merely by constructing a certain setting. Small groups without backing can do great things when left to their own devices.

“The lesson to take from that, in my view, is, you know, let these small, imaginative groups of people do what they want,” Dyson says. “Don’t get in their way. … Very often, the most creative things happen in the most implausible places.”

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