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3 décembre 2008

Les grandes idées sont-elles les meilleures?

Dans une récente interview à la radio de BBC, Chris Anderson et Alain de Botton se livrent à un intéressant échange sur le thème des idées. En voici un extrait, gracieusement retranscrit par moi-même.

Alain de Botton — I think an original idea is one that picks up accurately on something that is missing from the world as it is currently arranged and points the way to some sort of change that a broad range of people can see as beneficial. There are not that many ideas around at any one time that we can necessarily see. But they’re there bubbling away, and I think part of the role of media and other organs of diffusion is to sort of look out for ideas that may be not as powerful as they should be, that deserve a bit more of an airing.

Chris Anderson — In many ways, what we are trying to do at TED.com is trying to turn that process by which an idea is created and especially communicated to other people. Traditionally that process has domains associated to it, like education or lectures, and you think of people behind a lectern giving a boring talk or something like that. Whereas it can be done in a way that is truly thrilling and inspiring. It can be made theatrical, it can be made dramatic.

Alain de Botton — It’s often been said that we don’t live in an age with big ideas anymore. Some of us look back with nostalgia to times when Marxism, feminism, seemed like suitably sized ideas. When we think of big ideas like that, it’s often to do with certain simplicity, you know, « kill all rich people » or « women should leave their home and go to the workplace ». I share the nostalgia for big ideas, but I’m also weary of them to some extent. I think that part of the problem of a big idea, as it’s sometimes defined in the media, is that it has a certain simplicity and naivety to it. Many of the best ideas are really quite secular and quite small and have to do with very small but very important improvements to certain areas of life: an aspect of how to teach mass, a side of how you improve insulation in a building. These are not necessarily things that will get people out in the street, but they are significant ideas nevertheless.

BBC — But in the search for new ideas, regardless of their size, won’t people be more likely to be inspired by the idea that they could do something big and life-changing for everyone? And if it’s something smaller and unimportant, where’s the inspiration in that?

Alain de Botton — The inspiration is that there can be changes to the way we live, and the changes come through ideas. And you can almost look at the way that Obama got elected by this. He didn’t say « I’ve got one big idea ». He said « We can make a change ». And I think that’s the right way to do it. If you say you’ve got one big idea, and that idea somehow comes on stock as one big idea normally does, then you’re in trouble. Much better to say we can find inspiration and we can make a change, and then look for the smaller ones.

Pour écouter l’entièreté de la discussion, rendez vous ici.