Not Persuade but Eavesdrop

Not Persuade but Eavesdrop

In the 1990s, psychologist Kevin Dunbar decided to explore how new ideas appear and started to observe how scientists work. He installed cameras in four molecular biology labs to record everything that happened there. He also interviewed the scientists who worked in those labs.

It turned out that most of the new ideas and high-quality breakthroughs were born not in the labs but around the table where scientists discussed their work. Those discussions revealed new contexts and sensitive issues, unexpected analogies, and naïve assumptions, which made people look at their work from another angle and see some new development variants.

What a paradox! The best place for new ideas is not the “ivory tower” but the “round table” that has collected different people with different life experiences and points of view.

What’s the moral of the story? If you need a good idea, talk to strangers.

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