“A good idea is a network.” -Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From, 45.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one. It has something to do with the fact that an idea – for a new product, process, subject to write about, etc. – is often a combination of various smaller components. Microsoft Word combines elements of print writing with conventions of the computer screen. This also helps explain why Darwin was able to write down all the essential components of his theory of evolution before, one night, realizing that he had a theory; the nodes of the network were there, but he had not yet zoomed out to see the full picture and all its implications. Ideas-as-networks may also help explain why different perspectives are valuable; we may be focusing on a different aspect of an idea than our neighbor.