Mathematical computer art. Fractal art, like Jock Cooper’s beautiful Fractal Recursions, are intricate and often-psychedelic patterns, shapes and colours generated through a variety of math formulae. Something new and impressive comes from a piece that is small and peculiar.
In another context, fractals (and fragmentation) have an important place in a generalist’s lexicon.
Hyperinnovation is the incredible pace at which innovation is being accelerated as a result of new technologies and stronger commitments to experimentation. Fragmentation is the notion that information has become more plentiful as a result of increased specialization. These two factors, fragmentation and hyperinnovation, go hand in hand. They form a cycle whereby an increase in innovation leads to an increase in the number of specializations, which in turn leads to more innovation.
Diversity fuels further diversity. Niches lead to generalities to niches to generalities. “Development is differentiation emerging from generality,” wrote Jane Jacobs in her book The Nature of Economies, relating such a nested process to fractals, parts that are remarkably similar to the larger whole. “[T]he process is open-ended and it produces increasing diversity and increasingly various, numerous, and intricate co-development relationships.” This expansion is exponential and an ever-widening gap emerges between companies that can advantageously make sense of fragments and those that cannot. In other words, further niches come only to those that synthesize the niche’s roots. The hidden treasure then is discovering or rediscovering “obsolete generalities”, as Jacobs described it, because “even the most obscure and frivolous are potentially economically fertile, provided that somebody who needs them can find them.” Innovation, in other words, is greatly accelerated by inspiration because it offers us the opportunity to better assess what has already been done, where else it can be applied, and how we should direct our formidable focus.