We biographers have a dirty secret: we make it seem like a lone genius goes out to the garage and has a light bulb moment. But if you look throughout history, almost every great discovery and innovation came from teams.
All the great inventions of our time—the personal computer, the internet, the transistor, the microchip—we don’t know who invented them, because they were invented by teams. They were collaboratively done. Great leaders put together great teams, and a leader’s ability to draw from people of different backgrounds and different interests tends to be the thing that sparks creativity.
During the Renaissance, you suddenly had people working together across disciplines. Chemists working with cloth merchants, jewelry makers, with architects and artisans. And they invented many things, including beautiful silk fabrics, but also the science of perspective. If you hadn’t thrown all those people together, these innovations wouldn’t have happened.
Whether it’s the Florence of 1470 or Silicon Valley in the 1970s, magic happens when you get a mix of people together.