When thinking about great ideas we usually have image how some brilliant scientist or entrepreneur got some flash of insights – a Eureka moment, and came up with an new idea. To enforce this we associate technologies with their inventors. But how does innovation really happen? It turns out that ideas are constrained by their environment, or the adjacent possible. The inventor must take what exist and add some new things to it. Matt Ridley calls this how ideas have sex to produce new ideas, as he explains in his book, The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves
There is no consigned that the Enlightenment started with cities and the emergence of coffee houses. Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, argues that ideas come from the spaces that allow free form of information flow.