Prof Piero Formica, senior research fellow at the Innovation Value Institute (IVI) in NUI Maynooth, explains ‘experimental entrepreneurship’ and the role of ignorance in creativity ahead of his appearance at the Open Innovation 2.0 conference in the Convention Centre Dublin.
Formica leads an international team of researchers on experimentation and simulation of high-expectation start-ups. He describes this as a ‘supercollider of ideas’, hoping to create a Big Bang of entrepreneurial energy from which new ideas and new ventures will emerge.
As well as a comparison with CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, Formica also alluded to the Renaissance of the Middle Ages, which originated in his home country, Italy, and was supported by the patronage of the Medici family.
In creating lab environments for entrepreneurs to meet, share ideas and build a community, the IVI hopes to generate its own ‘Medici effect’ and create a new Renaissance of ideas for the future generation.
Formica believes innovation can’t necessarily be taught, but that an environment can be established to foster it – and the sooner, the better. As early as kindergarten, we can introduce experimental teaching methods to extract the hidden capabilities that can sometimes be lost or forgotten in traditional learning.
Later this year, Formica’s latest book, The Role of Ignorance, will explore how ignorance can be an important factor in creativity and innovation. “Ignorance follows knowledge, it is not before knowledge,” he said. “You become ignorant once you are a very knowledgeable person. And, through ignorance, you cross the horizon and you create new things.”