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Commentary By Mark P. Mills

Julio Ottino & Bruce Mau's 'The Nexus'

Economics Technology

Innovation is the sine qua non of our time.

Corporate executives claim their business embodies it, whether it’s about computers or coffee. Politicians love to invoke it. Consultants claim they can imbue it, for a price. Venture capitalists chase it, sometimes blindly. Educators claim to teach it. Coders think artificial intelligence can fake it.

Innovation is easy to define: “a new idea, method, or device.” Everyone knows when something is truly innovative or creative when they see it. And we know that being innovative requires being creative. But far less obvious is the answer to the question: How does innovation happen and how can we organize our thinking or a business to get more of it? Many books have been devoted to that question. Few have been deeply insightful. Even fewer have themselves been novel or creative.

Now comes a new book that constitutes a truly novel and useful exploration of the nature and practice of creativity, The Nexus: Augmented Thinking for a Complex World—The New Convergence of Art, Technology, and Science, written by Julio Ottino with Bruce Mau. Even the table of contents is novel, and instructive.

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Mark P. Mills is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute; a partner in Cottonwood Venture Partners, an energy-tech venture fund. 

This piece originally appeared in RealClearMarkets