Eclectic Curiosity


The Expertise Handicap

Posted on January 4th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Innovative Minds Don’t Think Alike, writes Janet Rae-Dupree in last Sunday’s New York Times. Drawing on examples from Chip Heath and Cynthia Barton Rabe, the article looks at how innovation is actually aided by toning down the level of expertise.

This so-called curse of knowledge, a phrase used in a 1989 paper in The Journal of Political Economy, means that once you’ve become an expert in a particular subject, it’s hard to imagine not knowing what you do. Your conversations with others in the field are peppered with catch phrases and jargon that are foreign to the uninitiated. When it’s time to accomplish a task — open a store, build a house, buy new cash registers, sell insurance — those in the know get it done the way it has always been done, stifling innovation as they barrel along the well-worn path.more


Posted on January 3rd, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

“The cryptkeeper” 84-year-old Sumner Redstone (Viacom and CBS chief) calls it his anti-aging secret. World Series winning Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon calls it his competitive advantage. If you’re looking to improve your diet in 2008, you might call it your new year’s resolution.

MonaVie is a tasty bottled juice blend of 19 different body-beneficial fruits – including the popular Brazilian açai berry, one of nature’s top superfoods. The other fruits are pear, white grape, acerola, nashi pear, aronia, grape, passionfruit, cranberry, apricot, banana, kiwi, prune, bilberry, blueberry, pomegranate, wolfberry, camu berry, and lychee. Together, MonaVie is rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants.… more

Inspiration Vacations

Posted on January 2nd, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

So many great ideas gatherings – inspiration vacations, as I like to call them – to schedule your travel around in 2008. Here’s a list of some of the biggest and best multi-disciplinary idea conferences coming up in the next 12 months. (If you know of others, please let me know – drop me an email: creativegeneralist AT

DLD08, January 20-22, Munich

LIFT, February 6-8, Geneva

Sesign Indaba Expo, February 23-26, Cape Town

TED, February 27 – March 1, Monterrey

The Medici Summit, March 2-4, Scottsdale

ETech, March 3-6, San Diego

Gel 08, April 24-25, New York City

Futuresonic, May 1-4, Manchester

Serious Play, May 7-9, Pasadena

Gravity Free, May 12-14, Chicago

HOW Design Conference, May 18-21, Boston

reboot, May?, Copenhagen

Interesting 2008, June 21, London

ideaCity, June 18-20, Toronto

Creative Problem Solving Institute Conference, June 22-27, Pine Mountain, GA

Tällberg Forum, June 26-29, Tällberg

Aspen Ideas Festival, June 30 – July 6, Aspen

iFest’08, July 10-11, Barcelona

PICNIC’08, September 24-26, Amsterdam

Idea Festival, September 25-27, Louisville

Gadgetoff, September?, New York City

BIF-4 Collaborative Innovation Summit, October 15-16, Providence

PopTech, October 22-25, Camden

Intersections, October?, Newcastle

DOTT, October?, London?… more

Diverse Adventures in Living

Posted on January 1st, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

The immense destruction that a new pulse signals is both frightening and creative. The only way to approach such a period, in which uncertainty is very large and one cannot predict what the future holds, is not to predict, but to experiment and act inventively and exuberantly via diverse adventures in living.C.S. “Buzz” Holling, From Complex Regions to Complex Worldsmore

Creative Generalist’s 2007 Round-Up

Posted on December 26th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Another amazing year for generalist ideas and initiatives! Here’s a holiday sampling of some of my favourite posts from the last 12 months.

Gen C – Empowered, participative, and thriving on inter-relationships.

Seeing the Long ViewWho Killed the Electric Car?, The Long Emergency, The Upside of Down, and Lead or Get Out of the Way.

Plight of the Original Cross-Pollinators – Bees are dying and no one is really quite sure why.

Explosions in the Sky – 2007 was a good year for concerts – none better than this one.

The Right Place at the Right Time – Aussie onlookers are treated to a sunset, fireworks, lightning, and a comet – all at once.… more

Season’s Greetings

Posted on December 24th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Thanks for another great curious and creative year. Season’s greetings from Creative Generalist!… more

Mind Reading

Posted on December 21st, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Neuroscience and psychology aren’t easy subjects to wrap one’s mind around (sorry, couldn’t resist) but thanks to several recently published books it’s never been easier to understand generally than now. Authors like Steven Johnson and Daniel Levitin, for example, have taken sections of these very complex and specialized fields, explained them for the lay person, and summarized key recent developments – of which there are many – in ways that can inform and inspire other endeavours. We’re learning some remarkable things about how the brain functions – such things as how we understand music, what role the mind plays in relationships and sex, what makes us happy (or not), and simply how we navigate everyday life.… more

The 4-Hour Workweek

Posted on December 20th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of the excellent book The 4-Hour Workweek and someone who has thought a little bit about the nature of work (and, as he calls it, “lifestyle design”), is apparently a big fan of the generalist mantra. Check out this post at his blog which lists The Top 5 Reasons to Be a Jack of All Trades.

1) It’s more fun, in the most serious existential sense.
2) Diversity of intellectual playgrounds breeds confidence instead of fear of the unknown.
3) Boredom is failure.
4) In a world of dogmatic specialists, it’s the generalist who ends up running the show.

The Upside of Down

Posted on December 20th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

I just finished reading Thomas Homer-Dixon’s The Upside of Down: Catastrophe, Creativity, and the Renewal of Civilization. This after watching, back-to-back, two brilliantly startling documentaries about peak oil – Crude Impact and A Crude Awakening – and, earlier in the year, reading James Howard Kunstler’s heavy The Long Emergency, among others. Self-punishment, you say? Truly, I don’t recommend this intellectual cocktail to the faint of heart. And yet it is essential reading. It’s important for us to consider human civilization at a macro level – the big picture burden.

The Upside of Down is Homer-Dixon’s follow-up to his excellent 2000 book The Ingenuity Gap (CG review here).… more

Lead or Get Out of the Way

Posted on December 17th, by Steve Hardy in Archives, Uncategorized. No Comments

In an attempt to save face following an embarrassing show at the UN Climate Talks in Bali at which he stood with only the US and Japan in opposing the much-needed international consensus, John Baird, Canada’s hapless Minister of the Environment, had this to say: “We came here to say things that a lot of people were thinking. There is a certain price of leadership, and I don’t apologize for that.”

Leadership is not stubborn backwardness. It is also not the exclusive domain of superpowers like the US, Russia, China, and India or G8 nations like Canada. It is a brave clarion call like the one made by Kevin Conrad of little Papua New Guinea which turned the US and perhaps rescued the whole agreement:

And there’s an old saying: “If you’re not willing to lead then get out of the way.” And I would ask the United States… We ask for your leadership.more

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Interdependence Commencement

Tiffany Shlain’s UC Berkeley keynote commencement speech…