Multi-disciplinary theorist and author, Steven Johnson, shares the nature of good ideas in the video below. As educators, we know that we want to encourage children’s creativity. We also must exercise our own creativity toward our own professional growth. Johnson offers strong support for the notion that creativity is best supported in a context for sharing knowledge and skills because an idea does not come into existence separate from other ideas or concepts. As Johnson puts it:

An idea, a new idea, is a network of neurons firing in sync with each other inside your brain. It’s a new configuration that has never been formed before. And the question is: how do you get your brain in environments where these new networks are going to be more likely to form?

Johnson’s theory of idea should both support and inspire educators toward creating learning environments that support exploration, reflection, knowledge sharing, and flexibility. Already many settings, such as those that implement constructivists principles (Splitter, 2009), the Reggio Emilia Approach (Edwards, Gandini, & Forman, 1993) and design thinking (Saxe, 2010), demonstrate that such environments do edify children’s capacity for creativity and innovation, in addition to other very important outcomes, such as citizenship, responsibility, and autonomy.


Edwards, C., Gandini, L., & Forman, G. (Eds.) (1993). The hundred languages of children: The Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Johnson, S. (2010). Where good ideas come from [Video]. Retrieved May 14, 2010 from

Saxe, K. (2010). 2nd grade Ohlone daily life. Innovation Lab. Hillsborough, CA: The Nueva School. Retrieved November 16, 2010 from

Splitter, L. (2009). Authenticity and constructivism in education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 28(2), 135-151.