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So how, exactly, does creativity work? Jonah Lehrer’s bestselling new book Imagine: How Creativity Works is a lucid attempt to scientifically explain both creativity and imagination. As Lehrer told me when he came into our San Francisco studio last week, his goal is to make sense of that “epiphany” in the shower which results in the insight (what he calls in the book, the thing that “comes out of nowhere”) of a great idea.

Lehrer’s book is, of course, essential for entrepreneurs seeking to come up with that brilliant new idea which will revolutionize the world. Indeed, Lehrer includes entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg with artists like Bob Dylan in his pantheon of creative geniuses. But as Lehrer explained to me, imagination and creativity are increasingly collaborative things which require us to innovate together. “Either we must work together,” he told me, “or we will fail alone.”

So maybe entrepreneurs should consider taking group showers to stimulate that next billion dollar idea.

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Gina Bianchini is best known, of course, as the co-founder and former CEO of Ning, the social community aggregator which Glam Media bought for $150 million last year. And now (ding dong), Bianchini is back with a new start-up, a social software company called Mightybell, which she says is trying to reinvent groups online. “It’s Github for groups,” she told me when I saw her last week at The Economist’s Innovation event in Berkeley. It may be “super early days,” for Mightybell, Bianchini explained, but she is nonetheless hopeful that the start-up, which has a “vast” team of six people, has raised $3.6 million and is still in private beta, will unlock the potential of real life experiences.

My conversation with Bianchini is one of a series of interviews about innovation that I recorded last week at The Economist‘s event. Check out previous interviews with the always controversial Vivek Wadhwa about racism and sexism in Silicon Valley and with Clay Christensen about trying to escape the innovator’s dilemma.

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Why do so many great companies fail? Professor Clay Christensen of the Harvard Business School argued they fail because of something he called The Innovator’s Dilemma – a term he popularized to describe the way in which smart companies become prisoners of their own innovation. So is it possible to escape the innovator’s dilemma? I had the honor of interviewing Clay at The Economist‘s Innovation event in Berkeley last week where the great man talked to me about how Google might escape the innovator’s dilemma, why he worries about Apple’s future, how to effectively innovate in education and healthcare and why most business school professors get the economy so wrong.

This is the second in a week long series of interviews from the Innovation event. Tomorrow, check out my interviews with Vivek Wadhwa on racism in Silicon Valley and GE marketing chief, Beth Comstock, on the oldest start-up in the world.

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Mureta

Back in 2009, Chad Mureta was an 18-hour a day real estate salesman living from one paycheck to the next. Driving home after a basketball game one evening, he hit a deer, flipped his truck over four times, mangled his arm and almost killed himself. Then, recovering in his hospital bed, Mureta – who knew nothing about technology or the Internet – was introduced to the app economy by a friend who gave him a newspaper article about how apps can generate significant revenue. When he got out of the hospital, Mureta borrowed $1,800 from his stepfather, built an app called Fingerprint Security Pro which eventually generated $800,000 in revenue. Mureta is now an app entrepreneur and, in good Tim Ferris style, travels around the world as a member of what he calls “the new rich”.

And you can be like Mureta, too! In his new book App Empire: Make Money, Have a Life and Let Technology Work For You, Mureta explains how the app business can transform all our lives. Earlier this month, Mureta came into San Francisco’s TechCrunch TV studio to explain not only how we can all become members of the new rich, but also to give his tips about the hot new areas of the app economy.

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