Scenius and dilemmas for policymakers

Brian Eno, according to Kevin Kelly, proposes scenius

to convey the extreme creativity that groups, places or “scenes” can occasionally generate. His actual definition is: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

Individuals immersed in a productive scenius will blossom and produce their best work. When buoyed by scenius, you act like genius. Your like-minded peers, and the entire environment inspire you.

Read his blog entry for the factors.

Kelly cites Camp 4 as an example of “scenius” leading to innovations in rock climbing.

What Camp 4 illustrated is that the best you can do is NOT KILL IT. When it pops up, don’t crush it. When it starts rolling, don’t formalize it. When it sparks, fan it. But don’t move the scenius to better quarters. Try to keep accountants and architects and police and do-gooders away from it. Let it remain inefficient, wasteful, edgy, marginal, in the basement, downtown, in the ‘burbs, in the hotel ballroom, on the fringes, out back, in Camp 4.

That’s something policymakers everywhere (especially, I suspect, in our little country) don’t like to hear, because it suggests that innovation happens not because of but in spite of their efforts.

Once they get over that then, how should they “fan” the “sparks” (to use Kelly’s words)? Even if policymakers wanted to help, what should they do? Maybe they should simply leave it alone. Not even promote, but remove certain regulations?


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