Structural Holes and the Origins of Ideas

So you’ve got a great idea. Where did it come from? Did you come up with it all on your own, right out of thin air? Probably not, says sociologist Ronald Burt. In fact, most ideas are not entirely original, but are merely examples of people finding a use for thoughts and facts, the significance of which may have eluded other individuals. In other words, a mundane fact which has no real use to one set of people may spark great creativity in another social or professional setting. According to Burt, this is all evidence that social structure can stifle creative thinking, and has become known as the study of “structural holes.”