Innovation and the Meaning of Nowhere

It’s easy to let your mind to wander while driving along the Blue Highways of Mid-Missouri, especially in the Winter. To the naked eye there is little with which to occupy your thoughts — just gray two-lane roads and thin, sleeping trees. All around it’s tombstone quiet, the rumbling of the tires competing only with the beating of your heart.

There are no skyscrapers, shopping malls or sushi joints. And good luck finding high-speed Internet service, wi-fi, 4G or 3G (yes, Virginia, thankfully there’s still GPRS.)

But there definitely is something here, something more important than post-modern technology yet just as critical to its success.

This place — and countless other “nowheres” like it — oozes with infinite possibility. The expanse is exhilarating, empowering. It makes you believe that you can do anything you want, armed with nothing more than a dream and the desire to realize it.

Where some see desolation others see a canvas. Where some see miles of nothing, others see paths to innovation. From the quiet can emerge a cacophony of new ideas and creative sparks.

My point is simply this: Sometimes there is more to learn from shutting down Twitter and not reading Mashable. Sometimes, what we think is real, what we think is a trend, what we think is epiphany, is nothing more than the reverberation of the voices outside our heads giving us a Groupthink version of reality.

Sometimes you need to forget everything you thought you knew and start over. This is how the Internet thrives, how new technologies are discovered and how culture is transformed. These are the pleasures that perspective brings.

The value of Nowhere should not be underestimated. Find yours, and you will find innovation not far behind.

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