How is it that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins were all in Nashville in the same recording studio on the same day, December 4, 1956? That day is now being replayed every day in the play “Million Dollar Quartet”. But I have more questions…
What did Emerson, Thoreau and Louisa May Alcott talk about since they lived next to each other? Is it a coincidence that Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Franklin and Washington lived in the same place at the same time? What happened in Florence in the 1400’s that brought great writers and artists together to form “that” Renaissance? In Ireland at the dawn of the 20th Century, the Celtic Renaissance nurtured the likes of Yeats, Synge, O’Casey, and the new Abbey Theatre. They all spoke, thought, dreamed, wrote and created one of the literary epochs of all time. Where are those groups today? They still exist but are they in Ireland now?
They are called Genius Clusters and when they occur, big things happen. No, GREAT things happen that can change the course of history, change an economy or a movement. Ronald Reagan, Jimmie Stewart and Henry Fonda were roommates during a summer stock review when they were all young. We can all marvel at the genius clusters we have known.
Silicon Valley has been a Petri dish for genius clusters. Right now, the CEOs of Twitter, Zynga and Salesforce.com can look out their office windows and see each other in San Francisco. The last time President Obama was in Silicon Valley he had dinner with the CEOs of Facebook, Cisco, Yahoo, Apple, Tesla, Google and Oracle. They all know each other and probably live not far from each other.
I want Ireland to create a genius cluster. In fact, let’s create a bunch of them. When the brilliant people come together to do something big, something big gets done. Genius clusters are not only smart, but they are action oriented and focus on goals, not process. I volunteer. I am far from being a genius but I know what a Genius Cluster looks like and when they come together in Ireland, I will get them focused on creating companies and serving the economy in a positive way. Genius clusters don’t cut costs as much as they come up with big ideas. It doesn’t take a genius to cut costs.
We have all been in companies or departments or groups or teams that were truly special. We have all been in groups that achieved extraordinary results and we smile when we think of that group. The formation of that special group is unpredictable and sometimes we only know how special the group was until after it breaks up. When we think of that special team and time we might have just a small sense of what a genius cluster can do.
Let’s create some in Ireland. Count me in.