Information spillover as an advantage that grows with increasing size of law departments

To use a term often employed by Steven Johnson, Where Good Ideas Come From – The Natural History of Innovation (Riverhead 2010), his book was germinative. Many ideas for this blog came to me from his discussion of the lessons we can draw from nature about how new ideas arise and spread (See my post of Dec. 14, 2010: positive quarter power laws; Dec. 14, 2010: ten years for management ideas to reach critical mass; and Dec. 14, 2010: open floor office plans; Dec. 14, 2010: commonplace books.).

On page 53 he describes “information spillover.” In a large community, where ideas can percolate and spread, “good ideas have a tendency to flow from mind to mind.” It seems likely that information spillover happens more commonly as law departments grow larger, because there are not only more ideas generated but there are more people to whom those ideas can flow. A virtuous cycle ensues.

From my reading of Good Ideas, diffusion of new ideas sounds more deliberate; spillover sounds like accidental, almost unintentional absorption of good new ideas – or any ideas, for that matter.

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